Bharatnatyam leaves many mesmerised in Pakistan

Last Updated 04 May 2018, 12:01 IST

The sound of the 'ghungroo' reverberated in the Islamabad air as a young Pakistani dancer performed the classical dance form Bharatnatyam, a very uncommon sight here in the country.

Amna Mawaz has been learning the dance for 14 years under the tutelage of an Indian teacher Indu Chatterjee who is settled in the capital after marrying a Pakistani military officer decades ago.

"I love this dance. When we started, there were 20 girls. Now only I am left and rest have either moved out or had stopped learning," Mawaz said.

While her parents were supportive, her friends were not that lucky.

"Dance is not seen by any as a good choice and while they learn as children, parents pull them out once they reach a certain age," she told PTI.

Mawaz's in-laws however are still not aware that she performs. Mawaz gave a mesmerising performance on this Sunday at Kuch Khaas here under the banner 'Pakistan for All'.

"My husband was very apprehensive before marriage and wanted me to quit as his family is a bit traditional. I put my foot down and he relented," she said as her husband smiled along.

Waqas Khalid, her husband, now accompanies her on performances.

Under the banner of Zia-ul-Haq's Islamisation, many began regarding many of the arts, as haraam.

The dreaded Taliban too have banned such dances.

While Amna retains the original gestures and movements from the dance form, she uses Hindustani Music as well as Urdu poems.

For any Indian diplomat, the performance was a shocker. Never before had he ever seen a Bharatnatyam performance in Pakistan.

Besides the classical dance, Pakistani band 'Laal' left the audience, comprising of many youngsters, writers and expats, mesmerised.

Lead Singer Taimur Rehman, also a professor at Punjab university and political activist, left the audience dancing on their feet with his brilliant music and raw energy.

"It is great to have such an evening. Pakistan has so much to offer," said Aliya, a fan of Rehman

(Published 16 October 2013, 15:56 IST)

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