The Shanaakth festival has returned to Karachi today, pleasantly so as the last time was too short to give the viewing public a chance to appreciate the effort put into this event. This time around the organizers have made sure to have proper security as well as keep a location which can be controlled far better than last time.
Right from the moment I arrived at the premises of Imperial gardens it was quite obvious that the management had gone all out to ensure that every visitor would get an experience to savor, from the valet parking outside (a much welcomed touch) to the metal detectors and closed off entrance which ensured one had little idea of what was going on inside. Upon entering I was faced with an astonishing display of the auditorium and the welcome desk itself, with luminaries from the cities past and present in gigantic posters adorning the auditorium front. This is where Sheema Kermani’s play “Rang badal do bhai” wasÂ staged tonight to rip roaring applause
To the immediate right of this gorgeous auditorium was a green space laid out with chairs and a stage for the musical part of the program as well as an eating section with all sorts of food being prepared for the incoming afternoon/evening crowds. As today was Iqbal day and a public holiday many families headed to this art festival celebrating the art and culture of our nation. For the kids a separate activity center”The imagination station by CAP” complete with video tools to tell them the stories of our past as well as a wish wall was arranged. Equipped with patriotic zeal it was a treat to see what some of our nations younger lot had wished for.
“Me Marun ga tu Pakistan ki khatir” reading that note by a young kid made my heart soar, I remembered Sheema Kermani’s words from the gracious interview she gave me regarding this festival last week. She said ” art must touch the viewer” That interview will be printed in TFT next friday but what this kid wrote left me with a tear in my eye as I headed into the passageway leading to the photo and oral exhibits as well as the vintage car exhibit at the back of the festival area. Understandably so as some of those cars looked valuable, the pictures perhaps more so as some of them were very very old.
Obviously not satisfied with the blandness of the passageway’s the management had put murals on the walls and the information about “Shanaakth” and “CAP” were very useful visual aides as I stopped half a dozen times to admire the view and soak in all this atmosphere. Truly this festival has left no inch undecorated with really jaw dropping work.
As you turn the corner shown vividly below, you come across a parking lot type space, red carpeted and with mechanical legends on both sides of the carpet welcoming you the visitor to a world when style was king and value was a set of whitewall tires and the wind in your hair. This was Shanaakth’s homage to the road warriors of yester year “The vintage car collection” and it made my pulse beat, just a tad faster as I could see the long winding highway these beasts had traversed across in my minds eye.
Someone had given this a lot of thought, as the car exhibit takes you into yesteryear so fast that your mind is almost expectant of the trip down memory lane and leads into the first photo exhibit , I should call thisÂ more of a poster exhibit or as Cap puts it “Sunehrey Sapney” a look at Pakistani cinema as it was in its glory days.
The rest of the photo exhibits include collections collected and donated by private individuals as well as foundations with sections given to the memory of a famed civil servant “Hashim raza” and a view of Karachi as well as of different karachiites through the lens of the maestro himself Amean Jan. Also in these enclosures are theÂ “Parvaz” and “New nation new freedom new responsibilities” exhibits curated by Zairah Maher and Shahana Rajani I could have taken pictures ofÂ all of these but I did not want to, because they should be experienced as they were meant to be, by your eyes.
All in all a superb and diverse festival awaits anyone willing to take the time out for it, the first day is gone and only two more are left. I would recommend all of you to hurry and catch a glimpse of a side of us not often on show, plus its totally free folks!! What more could you ask for? A schedule? well here it is!!