In some way or other, Urdu theatre tradition has greatly influenced modern Indian theatre. Among all the languages Urdu(which was called Hindi by early writers), along with Gujrati,Marathi and Bengali theatres have kept flourishing and demand for its writers and artists has not subsided by the drama aficionados. For Urdu drama, no place is better than Bombay Film industry otherwise known as Hindi film industry. All the early gems of Urdu Theatre (performed by Parsi Companies) were made into films. Urdu Dramatic tradition has been a spectator’s delight since 100 years and counting.
Drama as a theme is made up of several elements. It focuses on life and different aspects of it. The thing to be noticed here is that drama on stage imitates drama in life. It has been said that, there has always been a mutual relationship between theatre and real life. Great historical personalities like Shakespeare have influenced Modern Urdu tradition to a large extent when Indian, Iranian, Turkish stories and folk was adapted for stage with heavy doses of Urdu Poetry. In modern times writers like Imtiaz Ali Taj, Rafi Peer, Krishan Chander, Manto, Upender Nath Ashk, Ghulam Rabbani, Prof. Mujeeb and many others shaped this tradition.
While Prof Hasan, Ghulam jeelani, J.N,Kaushal, Shameem Hanfi, Jameel Shaidayi etc. belong to the old generation, contemporary writers like Danish Iqbal, Sayeed Alam, Shahid Anwar,Iqbal Niyazi and Anwar are few post modern Play wrights actively contributing in the field of Urdu Drama.
Sayeed Alam is known for his wit and humour and more particularly for Plays like ‘Ghalib in New Delhi’ ‘Big B’and many other gems which are regularly staged for massive turn out of theatre lovers. Maulana Azad is his magnum opus both for its content and style.
Danish Iqbal’s ‘Dara Shikoh’ directed by M S Sathyu is considered a modern classic for the use of newer theatre techniques and contemporary perspective. His other Plays are ‘Sahir’ on the famous lyricist and revolutionary poet. ‘Kuchh Ishq kiya Kuchh Kaam’ is another Play written by Danish which is basically a Celebration of the Faiz’s Poetry, featuring events from the early part of his life, particularly the events and incidents of pre-partition days which shaped his life and ideals. ‘Chand Roz Aur Meri Jaan’ – another Play inspired from Faiz’s letters written from various jails during the Rawalpindi Conspiracy days. He has written 14 other Plays including ‘Dilli Jo Ek Shehr Thaa’ and ‘Main Gaya Waqt Nahin hoon’. Shahid’s ‘Three B’ is also a significant Play. He has been associated with amny groups like ‘Natwa’and others. Zaheer Anwar has kept the flag of Urdu Theatre flying in Kolkata. Unlike the writers of previous generartion Sayeed, Shahid, Danish iqbal and Zaheer do not write bookish Plays but their work is a product of vigorous performing tradition.Iqbal Niyazi of Mumbai has written several plays in urdu.his play”AUR KITNE JALYANWALA BAUGH??”won National award other awards. Hence this is the only generartion after Amanat and Agha Hashr who actually write for stage and not for libraries.