The Urdu play Quli: Dilon Ka Shahzada staged recently at Ranga Shankara was a worth the watch. The play is said to have received rave reviews from audiences across the globe and rightly so.
The story is intriguing, the actors poised, dialogues well written, music and dance beautifully integrated, nothing seemed amiss or superfluous in this cultural spectacle. The writers of the play who also enacted its main characters have a great understanding of the use of repartee in drama in effectively communicating a story.
The young prince of Hyderabad happens to meet Baghmati, a devdasi while he had gone out on a hunt. Baghmati grew up, well trained in dance and music in the village Chichlum, and it was her melodious voice that drew the prince to her. Though she doubted the real intentions of the young prince whose besotted eyes never strayed from her, she was quick to realize that he truly loved her. Fearing opposition from their families, the prince and the girl meet each other in the most secretive manner. Once the father who comes looking for Baghmati spots her in the company of the prince. She is rebuked for her thoughtlessness and dereliction of duties at the temple. The father reminds the girl that she will merely be one among the many unwanted in the king’s harem.
It’s when the flood waters of Musi threatens to submerge Baghmati’s village that the prince braves the swirling waters to save his beloved. He takes her to his palace .In spite of prevalent skepticism about her ability to fit into the role of queen of the palace, Baghmati carries out her responsibilities with élan. The Prince recounts how his respect for her grew multiple times after she gave birth to their beautiful daughter, Hayat. Later, Baghmati converts to Islam and is called Hyder Mahal from whom the city of Hyderabad is said to derive its name. The king also constructs the famed Charminar at the spot where he first set his eyes on Baghmati to commemorate the eradication of a deadly plague in the city.
So far so good, but apart from the folklore there is no historical evidence to suggest the existence of such a queen! The debate as to whether the love story of Quli Qutub Shah and Baghmati is a product of popular imagination or a reality remains unresolved.
But it should not matter to the play goer. If you want to have a good time, experience a good story, travel back in time, Quli : Dilon Ka Shahzada is indeed a good choice.
It was Noor Baig whose twinkling eyes effectively portrayed the effervescence of Baghmati, Rashmi Seth, who commanded the stage as Quli’s mother and Vijay Prasad, the authoritarian father of Baghmati who stood out in the rendition. Did these actors overshadow Padmashree Muhammed Ali Baig, perhaps they did!