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An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



A Versatile Theatre Personality from Kashmir

by Sh. Autar Mota

Sh. Shadi Lal Koul

Sh. Shadi Lal Koul

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"Shamas Ud Din Aage Bado Hum Tumhaare Saath Hain"
I heard the boys shouting  inside  Botanical Park near Chashm e Shahi garden  srinagar on a summer day in 2009 . I knew that a TV Jatta Vanai for DD srinagar Produced and directed by Bashir Qadiri  was being shot with Shadi lal in main lead.I asked one of the boys who must have been  barely 19 years old as to who is Shamas Ud Din And Lo! he opened his  Small notebook  to show me the autograph of shadi lal Koul . It was surprising  to find  enormous fan following of Shadi lal  even amongst  children born after 1990 in  Kashmir.Further  questioning revealed that they were regularly watching the  serial  SHABRANG( 104 episodes ) written by Ghulam nabi kahayal and  produced by Farooq Nazki for DD srinagar . Who does not remember the dialogue " Begum salaal Tse Kyaazie Goyee Malaal " from this TV serial ? Otherwise also the serial was repeatedly telecast from DD srinagar on public demand . Shadi lal played the  main role of Shamas Ud Din   in this Serialized  Tele Drama .This Play was telecast for 3 successive years ( 1981 to 1983 ) and i vividly remember that shops would close and people would rush to their homes to see what Shamas Ud Din had to say in the new episode . The play created a Character that turned to be as popular as  Hero Machama of Pushker Bhan.Shadi Lal became the face of ordinary poor or middle class kashmiri through his innumerable plays  telecast on Doordarshan or Performed on stage at Tagore hall srinagar.. So Much so that he preferred to remain indoors as people identifying with his characters  would   embrace him on roads  . Ladies would kiss his forehead in traditional  kashmiri style . The shopkeepers , Tongawallas , vegetable sellers , school and college students   would shout "Shamas Ud din  Zindabad " loudly at him.

Meet Shadi Lal Koul  Versatile Theatre actor from Kashmir . A master of comedy  portrayed with combined elements of  naturalism and realism .His vehicle to tell stories of clerks , shopkeepers , petty traders or  man caught in the chores of daily family life   was simple humour .
Born in a middle class family at Chotta Bazar Srinagar , Shadi lal Koul  is a self taught man . No formal training at any institution .Together with his friend  Ayaash Aarif ( actor and director ) he founded KALI DASS Theatre at Chotta Bal srinagar . He also founded Yasmeen Dramatic Club  or his NUKKAD  Theatre in kashmir jointly with Abdul Rahim Kuchhay . 

" Many characters that i have performed  exist in real life . I just observe people who come close to me for any reason .I recreate these characters on stage. My inspiration has been the clerks , Tongawallahs, labourers , Petty traders on the footpath and   men trapped in  circumstances beyond their control  . Autar ji i do not remember how many plays i have done . Most of the plays were performed on stage . A good number of  plays were adapted by TV as well . I also did act in a DD serial under Shyam Benegal Banner with Om Puri.My character as  Houseboat owner in Balwant Gargi's Play "HOUSEBOAT " on Door Darshan was well received . I also acted in a Kashmiri movie Inquilaab produced by a Mumbai based producer and  directed by D K Kanwal. "  

Shadi lal acted in the  play Local Taxes Extra written by Dr Sohal lal Koul.The play Ashok JailkhaniRajesh koul  another Producer in DD srinagar  brought   Multi step camera to Tagore hall  srinagar and recorded the play  for DD srinagar in another style . was performed at  Tagore Hall srinagar in 1981. A history  of sorts was created by this play in srinagar. Tickets for the shows would  always be sold in black  for a  fully packed Hall.Additional chairs were always put to accommodate the audience  . Once the Staff at Naaz cinema nearby gave a thrashing to the artists to pack up as the play had played havoc with   their business.This play was also  adapted for television by  who produced and directed it. I vividly remember that

DASTAAR ( Turban ) was a play that touched height of popularity in kashmir valley. The Play was written by Prof. Hari Krishen koul  for theatre initially.The play was staged at Tagore hall in 1978 in a drama festival organised by J&K academy of art culture And Languages .This play was produced by Kamal Theatre Badyaar Bala and directed by Santosh Tiku . Shadi lal acted as  section Officer  in this play and   got best actor award . A  dialogue from this play "Kusum Lata Nein Bataa Kheytaa " is still popular  in valley . This play was also performed on DD with superb acting by late Sh H N Gurtoo  and directed by  Ashok Jailkhani.The play was again done for DD1 channel with Shadi lal again in lead role .
Another TV serial  done for  DD srinagar was  "RANGAN HEUND RANG ". The play was witten by Pushker Bhan and directed by Dr Sohan lal Koul  .People still remember the main Character NIKKA KOTTUR performed by shadi lal .I am also reminded of a comedy  serial   called  CHERRY TREUCH   written by Makhan lal Saraf and directed by Ayaash Aarif  for DD Kashir wherein Shadi lal Played the role of Gopi Nath Gagroo.  Another Comedy GHULAAM BEGUM BAADSHAH    for DD Kashir  directed by Ayaash Aarif had Shadi lal playing the main character Mokhta Mir.None can forget the comedy TIJARRATUK  AASAAN  TARIKAA  written for DD srinagar by Hriday koul Bharti  produced and directed by Shabir Mujahid . Shadi lal acted as Master Ji in this  popular Drama .I am again reminded of   GAASH   INNUSS   TAAM a play written by Hriday Koul Bharti  and directed by Rajesh koul  for DD srinagar . Shadi lal's  dialogue  " Maaji Hinz driyee Kaami Doah Guvv Zaayee " is still remembered by people in valley .Shadi lal  also acted in three episodes of  GUL  GULSHAN  GULFAAM  under Cinevista Banner .

Shadi Lal As Artiste 
 Watch him carefully and you find Humour  in his mannerism  and   body language . His dialogue delivery is perfect . He makes appropriate use of his hands and facial expressions . His steps on stage are calculated to match the content of the dialogues. He hardly needs any rehearsals . Apart from acting , Shadi lal also wrote script for a popular TV comedy  SHUKRIYAA  directed by Rajesh koul . His acting field is not confined to kashmiri theatre alone . I remember his acting in a hindi play DULAARI BAI   in 1981. The play was produced by Pragaash Theatre and directed by Vijay Khushoo.When Dr Sohan lal koul translated the popular Kannada play HAIVADAN by Girish Karnard  to kashmiri ( Gurey Buthh ) , it was shadi lal only who became the first choice of the director . Shadi Lal got best actor award  for this play .Again when Mohan Niraash translated  a  kannad Play by S L Bairappa , Shadi lal was the first choice of the director for the lead role. His favourite artists  from  whom he draws  inspiration  include late shri  Vijay suri , Makhan lal saraf , jawahar wanchoo, Ghulam Nabi Baba and Pran chandra.His favourite script writers include Ali Mohd lone , Farooq Masoodi , Bashir Dada and Hari krishen koul .
The plays that made him popular are 
1 Manziel Nikka ( Cradle Baby ) by M l kemmu .  Stage Drama in Pather style .shadi lal acted as Jawaan Maskharaa . Shadi Lal got best actor award .
2 Pagaah sholi Duniyaa by Makhan lal saraf, for TV
3 Gulnaar TV serialized  Drama written by Amin Shaakir 
4Anjaam  TV serialized Drama written by Virender Patwari.
5 Local Taxes Extra written by Dr Sohan lal koul  performed on TV and stage .  Shadi Lal got best actor award 
6 Pazer Yeli Moodh By Makhan lal saraf TV drama produced and directed by M l Kharoo.
7 Wukir Baaneh by sajood sailani for DD srinagar 
8 Dastaar by Prof Hari krishen koul performed  on stage as well as for DD srinagar and DD national .
9 Tassruff done on stage . Play was written by Amin Shaakir . Shadi Lal got best actor award . 
10 Zallur written by Bashir Dada  and performed on stage   in 1982.Performed on DD as well.. Shadi Lal got best actor award 
11 Gruhun  a play written for the stage by sh D K Ganju
12 Cactus written for stage by Dr Sohan lal koul.
13 Yeli Sangar Pholunn a play written for stage by Bashir dada .
14 Hero Machama written by pushker bhan
15 Tikoon  French story of Gye De Maupassant  translated for stage by Dr Sohan  lal  koul
16 Laash Ghar written for stage by Dr Sohan lal koul
17 Noor e Khuda ( Islamic Play ) written by Shadi lal Koul, Ayaash Aarif and L N Tiku.
18 Wazir e Nazar Guzar Written By sajood Sailani  for DD kashir .
19 Jatta Vanai for DD srinagar Produced and directed by Bashir Qadiri.
( Sadiq memorial society conferred Life Time Achievement award to Sahdi lal Koul  for his contribution to  kashmiri. Theatre )

TV Serials Just completed 
1 Naav Durr Aab for DD srinagar directed by Ayaash Aarif .
2Yelee Gaash Pholeefor DD srinagar directed by Ayaash Aarif .  .

TV serials under Production 
1 Vaayee Bichor for DD  srinagar Produced and directed by Shabir Haider


Shadi lal's popular Dialogues  

  • GONNAY BAA NAA  KARRAH NA SHRAAN   from the TV play BAA CHADUTHH  NAFarooq Masoodi and directed by Mir Mushtaq.   written by
  • BEGUM SALAL TSE KYAAZI GOYEE MALAAL. from  TV serial SHABRANG directed by farooq Nazki. 
  • GANAA GOKHAA FANAA. from  TV serial SHABRANG directed by farooq Nazki. 
  • MAAJI   HINZ   DRIY   KAAMI   DOAH   GUVV  ZAAYEE  from TV Play Gaash Innus Taam
  • GONNAI VINI CHAKHAA BONNAI   from the TV play BAA  CHADUTHH  NA  written by Farooq Masoodi and directed by Mir Mushtaq.

"I am humbled by the affection of people  from valley. Autar ji i  can not tell you how much love and respect i get from my audience while performing on stage or from my viewers who watch my serials or dramas on Door Darshan. . Kashmir is and shall remain my first love though  i am also   associated with  BHOORANG Theatre in Jammu. Long back i was in Sopore and i was stopped by a tongawallah who hugged me suddenly . He desperately wanted me to visit his residence  to have meals especially Fish  . I explained that i was with a  shooting team and  had to go to another village for some shots. Reciprocating his affection i too   hugged him . He kissed my forehead . He held my hand and tears rolled down his eyes. He had seen me in SHABRANG  .That made me  pensive in my entire return  journey to srinagar . I kept  looking at him  from the car window for a long distance when we parted. He kept waving . That is my greatest  award. "

A graduate  of Amar Singh College, Srinagar , Shadi Lal is a self taught Artist . He lives happily with his small family. His son Vijay koul is pursuing degree in animation. His wife lalita ji is a simple housewife.

This man who brings smiles to faces had his own share of pain and suffering. Destiny snatched his darling child who fell victim to Cancer . Shadi lal breaks down and turns serious even at slightest mention of this painful episode of his life. So long so much on Shadi Lal Koul. I  end this post with two lines from Poet Bashir Badr .

Yeh Hansee Bhi Koi Naqaab Hai - Jahaan Chaahe hum ne giraa Liyaa 
kabhi uss kaa Dard chhuppa Gaye - Kabhi Apnaa Dard Chhupp Liyaa.    
( These smiles on my face are a cover which i use at  will,
At times i hide pain of others and quite often i hide my own beneath it.)        

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