Crackdown on obscene dances in commercial theatres – Newspaper
LAHORE: The Punjab government has launched a crackdown on the commercial theatres and started closely monitoring even the Punjab Arts Council-run theatres to eliminate the scandalous, obscene theatrical performances and vulgar dances by implementing the existing laws in letter and spirit.
The home department sent show-cause notices to 14 more actresses performing in commercial theatres in Lahore after serving similar notices to nine actresses on Aug 9. Since the actresses, who were issued show-cause notices on Aug 9, did not submit their replies within seven stipulated days, sources say, the FIRs were lodged against two actresses. The actresses, Shama Rana and Payal Chaudhry, presented bails before arrest when police went to arrest them.
The sources in the department say commercial theatres get approval of each stage performance and script without dances but dances (mostly vulgar and obscene) pop up during the stage performances that violate the permission.
To the shock of the information and culture department, it was found that such obscene and vulgar performances were also being staged in the government theatres working under the Punjab Arts Council (PAC) that led to the banning of commercial stage plays at the Alhamra Art Centre, Lahore.
14 more actresses served show-cause notices; LAC executive director removed
On the other hand, the information and culture department on Monday managed to surrender Lahore Arts Council (LAC) Executive Director Saleem Sagar. The Punjab government notified his transfer and directed him to report to the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) for further orders. The executive director’s responsibilities have now been given to information department’s additional secretary (admn) Tariq Mehmood on a temporary basis.
Besides alleging that the former executive director was facing allegations of corruption, the information department stated that Mr Sagar was also found ineffective to maintain order as incidents of vulgar and obscene dances unfolded at the government’s own theatre at Alhamra Art Centre. Subsequent to these occurrences, legal action was taken against the dancers, leading to the ban on their performances in theatres.
After the incidents of vulgar dances at the Alhamra Hall, the information and culture department constituted committees to monitor stage performances at 12 government theatres working under the PAC.
In the continuation of its crackdown on scandalous, obscene and vulgar performances and dances, the Punjab home department, on a formal request along with submission of evidence by the PAC, launched legal action against 14 stage actresses and served them with show-cause notices, seeking written replies from them within seven days of the receipt of the notice as to why their performances should not be banned under the Dramatic Performances Act 1876.
The actresses who were issued show-cause notices include Shama Theatre’s stage actresses Mehak Butt, Komal Chaudhry and Qismat Shahzadi; Tamaseel Theatre’s Nayab Khan, Sheela Chaudhry, Ayan Akhtar and Sonu Butt; Mehfil Theatre’s Khushboo Khan; Naz Theatre’s Roshani Khan, Kajal Chaudhry and Sara Khan; Alfalah Theatre’s Mahnoor and Jia Butt as well as Sitara Theatre’s stage actress Tabassum Khan.
Earlier, the home department had issued show-cause notices to Tamaseel theatre licensee Qaiser Sanaullah Khan, Sitara Theatre (Gajjumatta) proprietor/licensee Malik Tariq Mahmood and Naz Theatre’s proprietor/licensee Malik Imran Dawood for scandalous and obscene theatrical performances in stage plays – Nachay Sara Lahore, Janu Eid Tay Bakra and Paredesi Dhola, respectively.
On Aug 9, it had issued show-cause notices to actresses Nayab Khan, Sheela Chaudhry and Ayan Akhter for their performances at Tamaseel theatre. Similarly, actresses Roop Jutt, Tabassum and Farah Khan at Sitara Theatre as well as Roshani Khan, Kajal Chaudhry and Sara Khan at Naz Theatre.
Sources in the home department say they are contemplating lodging FIRs against the commercial theatres’ proprietors and stage actresses for vulgar and obscene performances and ban them from performances at any theatre in the province.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2023