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Organised by Olomopolo Media for two consecutive nights at the Alhamra Cultural Complex, Lahore, the delightful play – Jeebo Jaani Di Kahaani – scripted by Farjad Nabi, was a well-structured tale that addressed many of today’s ever-growing dilemmas, particularly the green spaces being eaten up by the self-styled urban development. With its dialogues in Punjabi, the folktale had the audience under its spell as it dictated a story of greed and man’s cruelty towards Mother Nature. Directed by Kanwal Khoosat and enacted by kids aged seven to 14, the play received a huge round of applause from the audience that comprised of children, their parents, youngsters as well as the elderly, while bloggers and journalists also sat among those watching the eccentric theatrical show.
The story kick-starts with Icksy Baba who, blinded by his greed, wishes to use the forest land and its resources for construction purposes. Although he is warned plenty of times by Jeebo Jaani (Sophiya Sarosh) about the side effects and the result of his actions, he remains undeterred. The story continues as Icksy Baba performs Hajj several times using the money he has earned through this illegal means, as his illegal earnings had caused the death of countless wildlife animals and even poisoned the water. Time passes by and so do Baba’s resources. Soon, he is left bankrupt and seeing his empty pockets, those who once stood with him leave his side.
The bitter truth is that yes, we as a human race are the sole culprits of the deaths of many innocent wildlife creatures. In the name of advancement and innovation, we have deprived animals of their legitimate shelters, causing their extinction. The arrogant and destructive human nature has doomed our planet and is responsible for barren lands and polluted water around the world. The musical illustrated a profound argument between the use of nature’s resources and mankind’s development, while questioning the very meaning of advancement.
Jeebo Jaani Di Kahaani also questions the extent of one’s faith where those who think that performing religious obligations would rid us from the burden of the sins we’ve committed. However, it forces us to think all of it, at what cost? Hence, the overall objective of the play was to highlight such issues and provoke the audience to make more informed decisions regarding the environment. Since, the audience was full of children, it is very important to infiltrate such messages in their minds so they can adapt healthy habits and avoid causing harm to the environment.
Children among the audience were attracted to the colourful costumes worn by the cast, where the characters delivered their lines eloquently and without any hesitation. The catchy story of the play sent a very strong message to the play’s attendees on how we are responsible for reversing the damage that has been done. It’s never too late to put in some genuine effort to save natural resources for the upcoming generations. The beauty of this play is how such ideas are placed in our hearts in an absolutely light-hearted manner, using the acting abilities of Pakistani kids. All in all, a very impressive performance delivered at the Olomopolo Summer Camp. •