Husnbazaar: Manto ki Auratein

‘Fallen’ women are a specialty of Urdu writer Sadat Hassan Manto and this evening is a celebration of three such characters.

Echo, India

presents it’s first production for 2012

Husnbazaar: Manto ki Auratein

Manto’s narratives are notorious for the boldness with which they delve into the seedy underbelly of 40s India to bring alive a world of prostitutes, unfaithful women, pimps, cheats and the downtrodden. Husnbazaar revolves around three such stories:

• Mozail
• Kali Salwar
• Sau Candle Power Ka Bulb.

Each story with its unique female protagonist is converted into a play that has a flavor of its own.

“Mozail”, the Jewess is a heartbreaker, who seems to care about nothing at all – least of all the love-struck Tarloch Singh who almost gave up his religion to marry her. When Hindu-Muslim riots break out in the city of Bombay, Mozail returns to her former lover, seemingly unchanged. Is she as carefree as she appears to be? Or does that untroubled exterior hide a woman whose depths will leave us all dumbfounded?

If Mozail is about a seductress, “Kali Salwar” is about a prostitute with a heart. Driven from one place to another by what she thinks is love, Sultana is left penniless and on the verge of heartbreak. Played by three women, who, in their own ways bring alive Manto’s Sultana, Kali Salwar glimpses into the life of a woman who struggles to hold on to her very innocence.

The grimness of “Sau Candle Power Ka Bulb” is embodied in its nameless protagonist. As if a tornado, the events that precede the story have left the city of Bombay unrecognizable. Its former grandeur is replaced by decay. In this morose time, events lead us to the house of our protagonist who, as the narrator describes lives in a house that is unnervingly bright.

Husnbazaar is as much about the heartbroken as the heartless. Even as it explores the lives of unlikely heroes (or in this case heroines), it concerns something we all deal with – a struggle to assert our own individuality. It is an exploration that aims to unsettle the complacent even as it charms you, titillates you, and amuses you.

This production is the end product of a two month long workshop, where students of The English and Foreign Languages University came together and shaped themselves up through rigorous theatre exercises and night-long rehearsals. They are notoriously known as the Theatrewaley and their group comprises of past and present students of the university who are, like Manto’s characters, trying to etch out their own individuality.

Cast: (In the order of their Appearance)

• Anshu Agarwal
• Sishir Challa
• Ajooni Singh Chhina
• Sharmilla Seetharaman
• Nilanjana
• Krittika Mondal
• Mateen Khan
• Ayushi Pandey
• Ananya Mishra
• Aman Shahni
• Aditya Majumdar
• Adityan Mohan
• Abhinanda Bandyopadhyay

Scripted by: Sneha Nair

Directed by: Aditya Majumdar

Conceptualized by: Pritha Chakrabarti

Produced by: Aamir Tameem

Date: Saturday 28th January, 2012.
Venue: Lamakaan, Road no.1, Banjara Hills, Hyd.
Time: 7.30 p.m

Passes priced at Rs.100 would be available at the venue or you can e-mail us at for reservations.

An Echo, India Core Initiative.

1 comment for “Husnbazaar: Manto ki Auratein

  1. April 9, 2012 at 11:59 am


    Do you also host this play out of Hyderabad. We, Open Space, Pune is an NGO which interacts with youth on art and culture especially bringing diverse diemsions of socisl justice via medium of art and literature. This is a platform much cleleberated by youth in Pune for its accessibility and openness. WE would love to hold your play on Manto in Pune.

    Do let me know your response.



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