Day 6 – The Art of Listening

A Zambeel is a bag that contains simple everything the world is offering, still it never will be filled. The owner of the bag was the compagnion of Hamza, the author of the Urdu literature. Visual artist and theater practitioner Asma Mundrawala is also a storyteller in Zambeel Dramatic Readings. We met the teacher of fine arts at the Indus Valley School in the Clifton area, close by the sea.

Asma Mundrawala, below: Zambeel Dramatic Reading Logo

Asma is the one of three founders of Zambeel Dramatic Readings, that was initiated in 2011. With the view to bring texts from the Urdu literature to a live audience Zambeel presents texts from Urdu literature in a dramatised form to a live audience. Have they mainly targeted the adult audiences yet, they began readings for children during the last three years.

Zambeel presents a contemporary form of storytelling – that has its origins in a theatrical background – in a dramatized theatrical reedition and form.

The stories of Amir Hamza (The Hamzanama or the Adventures of Dâstâne Amir Hamze narrate the legendary exploids of Amir Hamza, an uncle of Muhammad) have a long oral tradition, and seem to be most suitable to undergo a transformation that lies in the artistic approach of Zambeel Dramatic Readings.

With the Zambeel Dramatic Readings Asma discovered that a high potential of storytelling also lies in it’s playful way of communicating the literature of a language: Urdu

Two main goals are part of the whole idea: To keep the continuation of the performative theatrical experience alive and to generate the interest in Urdu alive. Initially their audience was limited to a certain age group. Over a period younger people were entering into the audience demographic.

In subordinating her work under the premise of criticism that works with humor and irony, she addresses the young generation. Trough her engagement free from negativism and turning into positivism, she believes in the abilities of children and young adults ready to head a change.


Ouverture, Asma Mundrawala

Asma Mundrawala, Ehteshamuddin performing Aao Manto Sunein by Saadat Hasan Manto

Asma Mundrawala, Mahvash Faruqi, Ehteshamuddin, Saife Hasan performing Taoos Chaman ki Mayna by Naiyer Masud

Shama Askari, Asma Mundrawala, Mahvash Faruqi performing Dozakh by Ismat Chughtai at the Women of the World-Festival, Karachi 2016


Game over, Asma Mundrawala

Zambeel Dramatic Readings at the Faiz International Festival, 2017

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