Gurmukh Singh ki Wasiyat – Manto’s depiction of the terror of Partition

Script and Director: Sharjil Baloch

Based on a short story by: Saadat Hasan Manto

Gurmukh Singh Ki Wasiyat was a part of the series of Partition Stories that was shown in 2007 on PTV by Beyond Borders, an independent production house in the month of August commemorating Partition. Perhaps it was an acknowledgement by the state television that we can revisit our gory past with objective eyes.

The play centers around Mian Sahib, an old muslim man in turkish cap and always impeccably dressed in a black sherwani, who refuses to move out of his pre-dominantly Sikh neighbourhood due to the Partition riots. Mian Sahib’s confidence to be untouched by the riots stems from the faith he has in his friendship of many years with Gurmukh Singh. Mian Sahib believes that nothing will happen to him as long as Gurmukh Singh is around. But Mian Sahib’s kids especially his teenage daughter Sughra is petrified and wants to leave the neighbourhood as quickly as possible. Mian agrees finally but by then it is too late.

I don’t want to give away the ending for that is where the crux of the story lies. All I can say is that the last scene is heartfelt and sweet yet at the same time it is shocking and heart-breaking. Once the play ends you understand that the plaudits Manto as a master storyteller earned during his lifetime and continues to do so are truly well-deserved.

In the acting department Qazi Wajid as Mian Sahib, Munawwar Saeed as the yellow-turbaned with flowing white bearded Gurmukh Singh and Aamina Sheikh as Sughra all justify their casting and bring out the nuances of this well-directed story.
Yaadgaar/Memorable Dialogues:

hindu hindu ka, musalman musalman ka
har ek shaks nay machis aur ghanslet pakdi huwi hai

Where to watch:

The following link has very good video quality with english sub-titles
http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/799/Gurmukh-Singh-ki-Wasiyat

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