Kufr - A bold play based on a novel by Tehmina Durrani, directed by Sajida Saji

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan. 

Today curtains went up on a play titled "Kufr" based on this book and we were privileged to watch the first show. We met Director Sajida Saji before the play and she confided that this was her dream project, and she was suitably nervous. However, looking at the turn up and the response of the audience, she had no reason to worry.

Today curtains went up on a play titled "Kufr" based on this book and we were privileged to watch the first show. We met Director Sajida Saji before the play and she confided that this was her dream project, and she was suitably nervous. However, looking at the turn up and the response of the audience, she had no reason to worry. 

In total, onstage crew of the play was 22 people strong. And there were dozens others who made the play possible by their awesome work backstage. Costumes were pretty well designed, especially those of the supporting cast. These costumes helped in creating a creepy atmosphere on the stage. We also discovered that the cast of the play was mostly workshop students who had been learning acting for past 3 months. Despite this lack of experience of the actors, the play was definitely an engaging watch. Director Sajida Saji's magic was palpable all the time.

In total, onstage crew of the play was 22 people strong. And there were dozens others who made the play possible by their awesome work backstage. Costumes were pretty well designed, especially those of the supporting cast. These costumes helped in creating a creepy atmosphere on the stage. We also discovered that the cast of the play was mostly workshop students who had been learning acting for past 3 months. Despite this lack of experience of the actors, the play was definitely an engaging watch. Director Sajida Saji's magic was palpable all the time. 

The story is quite heavy and the scenes of physical and sexual abuse were quite graphic, so it is advisable that you should exercise discretion. Children below 16 are anyway not allowed; I would recommend keeping them away till they are 18 years old.

The story is quite heavy and the scenes of physical and sexual abuse were quite graphic, so it is advisable that you should exercise discretion. Children below 16 are anyway not allowed; I would recommend keeping them away till they are 18 years old. 

There are some pretty interesting characters - Cheel, Tara, Abbu's spirit, and a white haired ghost - that have interesting storylines as well. The play effortlessly moves into flashback, a trick which is difficult to pull off in any creative medium, so it is more so in live acting. Also, the actors were changing in and out of costumes on the stage, another difficult trick to pull off.

There are some pretty interesting characters - Cheel, Tara, Abbu's spirit, and a white haired ghost - that have interesting storylines as well. The play effortlessly moves into flashback, a trick which is difficult to pull off in any creative medium, so it is more so in live acting. Also, the actors were changing in and out of costumes on the stage, another difficult trick to pull off. 

Another big risk that the Director had taken, that too with an inexperience cast, was to have live music. Almost all songs were sung by the actors and there were musicians creating a great atmosphere with their music. We think we also heard a singing bowl being used at places.

Another big risk that the Director had taken, that too with an inexperience cast, was to have live music. Almost all songs were sung by the actors and there were musicians creating a great atmosphere with their music. We think we also heard a singing bowl being used at places. 

The play managed to invoke a few chuckles in between, despite the difficult topic. And it received a standing ovation from the audience. Overall a pretty good first show and first performances by many actors. Among the actors, the ones who played Tara and the white-haired ghost, managed to make an impression despite their short roles.

The play managed to invoke a few chuckles in between, despite the difficult topic. And it received a standing ovation from the audience. Overall a pretty good first show and first performances by many actors. Among the actors, the ones who played Tara and the white-haired ghost, managed to make an impression despite their short roles. 

We wish Sajida Saji and rest of the cast and crew the very best for their future performances. We definitely enjoyed the show today.

We wish Sajida Saji and rest of the cast and crew the very best for their future performances. We definitely enjoyed the show today.   

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Let us also share about the actors who were part of the cast in Kufr :

Heer - Anushka, Radhika, Toshmi 
Peer Sai - Thomas Mathews

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Ranjha - Junaid

Bodyguard - Vinay

Father - Manish

Farmer - Harshit

Peedit ma - Ghanshyam

Heer's mother - Payal

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan. 

Heer's borther - Harshit

Heer's father - Ashish

Naukrani - Sachin

Amm Sai - Umer

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Kali - Payal

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Dai - Ghanshyam

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Yatimedy - Ronak

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Cheel - G.S

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

Tara - Vyom 

Kufr (Blasphemy) is a novel written by Pakistani author Tehmina Durrani, in an attempt to expose the hypocritical and even cruel practices and harassment that takes place under the garb of religion. The book is the story of Heer who is forced to marry Peer Sain (a religious cleric more than twice her age) and then undergoes sexual and physical exploitation throughout the course of her life. The author claims that this book is based on real-life incidents. It is a really bold book and has been banned in Pakistan.

 For more photographs from this play, click here

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