Nargis makes comeback, not as a dancer

The dancer-turned-actor will be seen performing in a play by Munir Raj titled Queen of PK. PHOTO: FILE

The dancer-turned-actor will be seen performing in a play by Munir Raj titled Queen of PK. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Nargis, the woman who has defied odds and remained the dancing queen of Lahore’s theatre circuit, is now gracing the stage of the government-owned Alhamra Hall after 15 years but this time, not as a dancer.

The performer has taken on a whole new avatar of a theatre actor who aims to raise awareness about social evils. Nargis is participating in the play Queen of PK. Talking to The Express Tribune, she said the crises of Lahore’s theatre industry have forced her to come forth and restore its former glory. With this role, she wants to bring back audiences who had stopping coming to see their performances, thanks to a dip in production quality and the prevalent vulgarity.

This is the second spell of the play, which has been written by Munir Raj, and in its fourth week, it is still doing well. Seems like Nargis’ fans and detractors both want to see what she is up to. The dancer has had a long association with private venues such as Mehfil Theatre, Tamaseel Theatre, Alfalah and Shalimar Theatres where she would make appearances, every now and then.

Queen of PK tells the story of a family, some of whose members are staying abroad to help financially support their relatives in Pakistan. It has been directed by Abid Kashmiri, Goshi Khan and Raj. The play also highlights the generation gap debate and what causes rifts between parents and their offspring.

Besides Nargis, other famous stage dancers and actors such as Payal Chaudhary, Zara Akbar, Abid Kashmiri, Mujahid Rana, Gulnaz, Akmal Rahi, Fajar, Madiha Shahzadi, Sabir Gaga and Khan himself are part of the cast.

Nargis feels it is the responsibility of senior stage performers to come forward and set things right. “The current situation needs to be dealt with a lot of seriousness. I believe that it is my duty to do something positive and bring back the audiences,” she said. The dancer said her services for the promotion of theatre in the country cannot be written off.

“My commitment with stage is proof of that. I am still working on stage, although there are many others who are earning millions by performing at private functions and parties.”

Nargis said wealth was never her priority and she only charges a reasonable amount for her performances.

“I am performing at a government venue so that a larger section of society can be reached. We want to prove that theatre is still a source of entertainment that also highlights social issues,” she added.

Talking about the play, Khan said Queen of PK’s success is the result of the efforts that his team has put into the project. “The presence of senior artists has helped tremendously. We are working as a team and all the juniors and seniors are committed to reviving theatre in Lahore. We will continue performing such plays in the future as well,” he said.

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