wiki:Aga Hashr Kashmiri

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Aga Hashr Kashmiri (1879-1935)

Scenarist and best-known early 20th C. Urdu- Hindi playwright of enormously influential Parsee theatre plays. On contract to the Alfred Theatre in Bombay (1901-5) and then (after 1916) to the Madan Theatres’ Elphinstone and Corinthian companies in Calcutta, providing adaptations of Shakespeare (A Winter’s Tale became Mureed-e-Kash, 1899; Measure for Measure became Shaheed-e-Naaz aka Achhuta Daman in Hindi, 1902; King John became Saeed-e-Havas, 1907; Macbeth was Khwab-e- Hasti). Made a big impact with his linguistic transpositions of Shakespearean tragedy’s feudal elements of blood ties and blood feuds, honour, sacrifice and destiny into Farsi, Arabic (he knew both languages) and Moorish legends, simultaneously taking on board the European baroque’s Orientalist treatment of such sources. He extended his Shakespearean matrix to several partially original plays like Meethi Churi (1902), Safed Khoon (influenced by King Lear, 1907) and his best-known play, Yahudi Ki Ladki (1915), all of which were repeatedly filmed in the silent and early sound periods. His initial writing style followed the post-Indrasabha convention of mixing Urdu prose and poetry with Hindustani music. Later, with plays like Pehla Pyar (1911) and Van Devi (1916), he started writing in Hindustani, shifting away from historicals into socials and Pauranic mythologicals treated in the social genre: Bhishma (1925: filmed under his direction in 1933s), Seeta Banwas (1927). This linguistic and generic convergence helped, through his scripts, shape the films of Madan Theatres (Pati Bhakti, 1922; Paper Parinam, 1924; Dharmapatni, 1926; Aankh Ka Nasha, 1928 and Bharati Balak, 1931, which he also directed) and formed the persona of New Theatres’ famed tragedian, K.L. Saigal, scripting his influential Chandidas (1934), Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933) and writing his lyrics (e.g. Prem nagar mein banaoongi ghar main and Dukh ab din beetat nain). Turki Hoor, staged 1922 and filmed by J.J. Madan (1924), cast the male Narmada Shankar in the female lead, leading to censorship and the deletion of one scene.

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