BY MUSHTAQUE B BARQ
Life is a stage one enters through a wing, executes his performance and leaves from the other, leaving the admirers to unfold the carpet of their own acuities and beliefs. Every artist is a dreamer who lives in the world of his own through the characters he is known amongst the followers. Actors are role models of any society, they promote the cultural history of any nation. A theatre activist knows no region, race, and other formalities of life, he lives for art despite odds. The stage encourages one and all to express freely so as to explore the embryonic artist within him or her. It is the only place that doesn’t set measures for genders. Female artists have enriched all three mediums of entertainment. On a counteract she has performed according to needs and the requirement of the plot. One such matured and adroit artist is Parana Shangloo resident of Ali Pora, Chadoora, Budgam, was born in 1950. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Arts, Prana Shangloo turned towards theatre when the stage was much in need of female actresses. Knowing the severity of the society, she played her part on the stage and screen like an archetype of drama. She could produce giggles beneath the ribs and with equal command on sentiment, she soaked the eyes of her admirers as well besides, playing many progressive roles as a romantic lover. She started from Novnihal Programme in 1968 for Radio Kashmir. She has worked outside the state as well in the following plays: Nov Nosh, Chapat and Hayat and in 1977 for Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan Chopati Bombay. Apart from the above mentioned she has acted in feature films and other serials like Heera Lal Pana Lal, Jewan Rekha, Baid Bhav, Agg Ka Darya, Waqtuq Aaluw, Katha Sagar and Gul Gulshan Gulfam. She has considerably contributed for the stage, her roles in Aaaram Haram Hein, Suno Janam Jai, Janwar, Ashad Ka Ek Din, Khamosh Adalat Jari Hein, Ropiye Te Rood, Kirdar Tohi Chhiv, Tikoon, Pagahs Prarov, Ye Zonum Su Zonum, Dastaar, Varidaat, Zulur and Ram Leela. For Radio she has performed in Hero Macham, Detective Macham, Alif Laila, Vular, Mir Saheb, Kochi Path, Kinare Kinare, Laket Kath, Poz Gov Aftab, Sirus Sarposh and many more. She has played some memorable roles in Ake Nandun, Girdiaab, Yeli Wtan Khur Yewaan, and Akash Patal. In many TV films like Habba Khatoon, Arni Mal and Rasul Mir she has played some vibrant roles that viewers still remember. She was awarded by Lal Ded Foundation and Chief Minster at Tagore hall for her excellent role as a typical Kashmiri woman living in different scenarios.
“Prana jee has been one of the pioneers in as far as the participation of female actors in plays is considered. When it was taboo for female artists to act in plays on stage or TV, she was one of the few to break that stigma. She has been sort of iconic in portraying a typical Lower class Kashmiri old lady or a mother. Most of her performances have centered on such characters, which she played with perfection. Her forte has been playing emotional characters. Her performances both on stage and on TV have always been well appreciated.” Ashok Jail Khani, Former Additional Director General, Doordarshan (Public Broadcaster), India.
“Prana Shana Shangloo is Niropama Roy of Kashmir. She is an artist of immense talent and has played characters of different shades during her 50 years of contribution in Radio-Television and theatre. She is popularly known for her motherly characters she has played in different Radio and Television dramas and those characters are still alive in the memory of our audience. Prana ji is the household name of Kashmir and a great symbol of “KASHMIRYAT”. During the unfortunate mass exodus of our brethren in Kashmir Valley in the year 1990 Prana Ji did not move out of Kashmir and decide to live with his own people. Prana Ji’s contribution to the theatre movement of Kashmir is unparalleled .she is among the pioneers of our theatre personalities and an inspiration to young and budding lady artists of our Kashmir.” Ayash Arif, Actor-Director.
“A pious lady, she always behaves like a mother even off the stage. Prana Ji has played my mother in many plays. She is known as Durga Khote in Kashmir. She is an expert in performing the emotional roles, her body language and expression are marvelous. She is a good fighter and confident artist.” Tariq Javid, Actor- Director.
Shabir Mujahid, Director Producer describes Prana Shanglu as a famous lady artist not less than a Bollywood actress Durga Korte. She has a long career in the field of Stage Radio and TV a versatile actress with natural talent. I have the experience to work with her in many plays and serials I can remember her role in the play Damm e Khutter written by Bashir Dada was superb. Prana Ji’s contribution in the field of art and culture will be always remember as a great artist.
“I was introduced to her for my first Radio Play Thoup Soneh Sund directed by Sh Pran Ji. She had so beautifully performed the role of a cunning character. Then I wrote a play Dum Koother for TV and Theatre, for TV Play was directed by Shabir Mujahid, Prana Ji again acted and performed the character beyond my expectations. The inner Artist of Prana Ji had confidence that no one can harm as she had been performing for the people of Kashmir and that was the reason that she lived in Kashmir as a loyal artist. Being so loyal to the art she was never appreciated for the role she has played on and off the stage and this is a tragedy. The ignorance of our fraternity and apathy of concerned institutions have played an undesirable role.” Bashir Dada, Actor-Director
Mushtaque Ali Ahmad, a film maker says, “I know Prana Ji since the early 80’s when I was a new entrant to the field of Theatre. She has been a very dedicated Artist of Theatre. She never said no to any role in any Play by any group. She also worked in Radio and TV plays and serials. In Theatre and Radio unfortunately I did not get a chance to work with her, because of our different genres. On TV I worked with her in a few plays and films. She is a very talented artist but she did not get the returns that she deserved. She gave her life to Stage, Radio and TV and got back very little.”
“Prana Ji is our senior-most artist of television and Radio everybody in this industry knows her contribution. Panaji is a living legend of our state. Her contribution as an actress can never be forgotten. Her natural acting has been a lesson to learn. I have worked with her in Radio and TV films and I have the honour to book her in one of my production. She is an impressive artist, simple and down to earth.” Zameer Ashie, Actor-Director.
“She played as a mother in my first ever Kashmiri serial Adamzaad. She is a dedicated, active and alert actress. One thing that I loved about her is that she is non-controversial. Her Kashmiri accent is fine and she knows what kind of accent she requires in the role she was on for. She is punctual and disciplined.” Nirmala Dhar, Actress and Social activist.
“Prana Shangloo, popularly known as Prana Ji is a very kind and wonderful human being and versatile actor. She could play any type of role. Somehow I feel that she didn’t get what she deserved. We did a lot of radio plays and stage plays together. In Kashmir, we were very close but lost touch after 1989.” Brij Kishori, Artist.
Q:- Why did you select Theatre actress as your profession?
This question is difficult to answer for the reason that one does what his or her fate suggests. I only obeyed my instincts at my utmost zeal. Initially, there were so many hiccoughs, but one learns with time and I too kept myself open to learn newer things that helped a lot. When I peeped down my mind, I found an actress in me that was waiting for the proper time to be explored. I realised it and incubated it with care and finally showcased it on the stage and screen. You know there is an actor or actress in every human frame, some take it to heights and others only know it but fail to explore. It is a well-known proverb that an early bird catches the worm, so is true with me.
Q: – It is said that you love to play emotional roles with utmost accuracy?
Well! I have played every role sincerely. In my opinion, an actor must know the character he or she is playing. If he or she picks the character, he automatically injects into it a feel much required. I did some memorable roles if you call them emotional roles with much accuracy. I have learned that for performing the role of mother, you need to thrive a lot of emotions in the role and as a sister, you need to create a balance between what you are on for and what you want from the co-artist. I believe that every man is full of emotions and sentiments whenever I was given an emotional role tears would roll down my cheeks automatically and that perhaps added grace to my roles. It is not that I have only played sad roles but I have also performed some negative roles as well. An artist must be open to playing any role he is required to perform and I am lucky to act on different scripts demanding different treatments.
Q:- What are the basic requirements of a stage artist?
I think the first and the foremost requirement for any artist, may it be a theatre artist or TV or Radio artist is that he or she must be equipped with talent. A talented man can prove himself anywhere, but those who just peep in for the sake of pleasure must stay connected to learn the art. Nothing comes free in life, acting is not all that easy as it appears on the screen or on the stage. It is an uphill task. There are so many things one has to learn and he learns with the passage of time. There is no end to learning especially for an artist. I think that any performance is incomplete without practice, so one has to keep this option open to give his or her the best on the screen or stage. One important thing that I want to share with you is that every actor or actress is incomplete until he learns from his or her failures. Failures teach us more than conventional teaching. One more important thing that one must be armed with is dedication.
Q:- What do we need to do for the promotion of Theatre Culture?
This is a million-dollar question, I have a few suggestions to offer. First of all, we must acknowledge the artist and art will automatically be restored. We have to invite people to see our performances based on their expectations. Art must be separated from lobbyism. I think we have to do a lot of work to restore the industry. We can start with the school level, we have to peep in the classes to make the kids know the role of theatre. And apart from this, we all have to establish a platform wherein, we can conduct acting workshops for the upcoming artists. We need to adopt new ways to make our drama fresh and fair. New faces must be introduced and for them, we must have a package to lure them towards the theatre.
Q : Do you think social support is much needed for the upcoming artists?
Every kind of support is an additional feature that adds grace to any performance. We must come ahead to support our budding artists by all means. We must give them chances to perform along with veterans so that they will learn continuously, we cannot leave them all alone, and we have to encourage their likings and polish their skills. I believe that a joint effort is the need of the hour.
Mushtaq B.Barq is a Columnist, Poet and Fiction Writer. He is the author of “Feeble prisoner, “ Wings of Love” and many translation works are credited to the author like “ Verses Of Wahab Khar” and “ Songs Of Sochkral”