PTV legend Aurangzeb Leghari looks to government for theatre’s revival

PTV legend Aurangzeb Leghari looks to government for theatre’s revival

The veteran actor said that amidst overwhelming commercial theatre wave, only the patronisation of the government could lead to a quality theatre revival.
13 Aug, 2022

One of the finest actors of Pakistan who graced a number of television plays during the golden era of PTV, Aurangzeb Leghari, says if the government provides any patronage to message-oriented and socially relevant plays, quality theatre can be revived.

Mr Leghari in an interview with Dawn not only threw light on the prevalent situation of television plays but also recalled the days when he used to do theatre back in the 60s at Alhamra and how good were the plays, the direction and the scripts in those days.

He said that amidst this overwhelming commercial theatre wave topped with dare bare dances and vulgarity, only the patronisation of the government could lead to quality theatre revival. Leghari is also the chairman of the Pakistan Artistes Equity.

“If the Punjab government patronises quality theatre and the finance division allocates funds for decent morally up to the mark theatre, things could change as many artistes from the Equity could be asked to be part of such kind of theatre,” he said.

Leghari was born on Oct 25,1944, in Rahimabad, Rahim Yar Khan. He studied at the Government Central Model School, Lahore, later got admission to the Cadet College of Pataro and did graduation from the Government College Lahore.

 Photo: Aurangzeb Leghari /Facebook
Photo: Aurangzeb Leghari /Facebook

In the early 60s, Leghari started his acting career by taking part in plays staged at the Government College, Lahore. He acted in a play in ‘Sawan Ren Da Sufna’, the Punjabi translation of Shakespeare’s ‘Mid Summer Night Dream’. The play was translated by Sufi Gulam Mustafa Tabassum.

He then started doing theatre at Alhamra with the likes of Anwar Sajjad, Kavi Khan, Firdous Jamal and other leading actors.

“I did a play at Alhamra during the war of 1965 ‘Lahoo Kay Charagh’, said Leghari saying all the actors did that play with great fervour and passion.

He said in the early 60s, theatre used to be nice and decent with thought-provoking message-oriented scripts; there were no dances and below-the-belt vulgar dialogues in the plays.

He performed in over 300 theatrical plays. “We used to sell tickets of our plays by ourselves while standing on The Mall; the ticket price used to be Rs5,” he recalled.

His first TV play was Samjohta but before stepping into TV plays, he hosted television shows and also used to read the weather report. His memorable TV plays include Waris, Dehleez, Waqat, Hazaroon Rastay, Faraib, Uchay Burj Lahore Dey, Tali Thalay, Chanan Tey Dariya and many others.

He also assisted many film directors, such as Farid W Ahmed and S Suleman, though he acted only in one movie, Naureen.

Leghari, besides being a fellow from the world of performing arts, is also a philanthropist; he is one of the directors of an orphanage named Asra where orphan children are also given modern education.

To this question about his experience of working in the Karachi showbiz industry, Leghari said the experience was not that good. “Perhaps, there is a need to work in harmony. An artist is an artist, so every artist should be given due respect and space,” he said.

He said there was a decline in the film industry in Punjab because the directors of their times did not produce their students. Good scripts and great direction were needed to produce good films as formula films won’t do any good.

Originally published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022


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M. Emad Aug 13, 2022 11:57am
Well the PM is known as Showbaz. He sure isn't able to revive economy but there is hope he may revive theatre.
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Aug 13, 2022 01:46pm
Great expectations.
David Aug 13, 2022 05:15pm
Government is promoting theater more than ever. It is all theater
Daanish Aug 13, 2022 06:49pm
we need to involve an overseas Pakistani, Rheema Khan, and others to fulfill this task.
asma Aug 13, 2022 06:57pm
@M. Emad Yes I hear he is good at dramas and comedy
Zoob Aug 13, 2022 11:03pm
Unfortunately the script writers have gone to hiatus with nothing new to offer. Everything is just same same. Further language of Urdu has been ransacked by heavy use of hinglish to.the point it is 50/50 portion. Next even the actors and actresses level of competence is based on skin colour. Can anyone please explain to me these relative outliers of whiteness represent the Normal populous.
SidC Aug 14, 2022 02:53am
Government restrictions on creativity is the main reason. Stage people has follow government script anything different would be rejected.
Rafique Aug 14, 2022 07:32am
Revival is good! I want to see on stage dramas!
Syed Qutub Aug 14, 2022 07:48am
It should not be an issue. We excel in theatrics...
Sane Mind2nd. Aug 14, 2022 10:16am
One broke entity asking help from another broke entity. Wonderfull.