Monday, September 17, 2012




"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 the year  2009. I knew that a TV serial   “ Jatta Vanai “ for DDK, Srinagar was being shot with Shadi Lal in the main lead. I asked one of the boys who must have been barely 19 years old as to who is Shamas ud Din and he immediately opened his Small notebook to show me the autograph of Shadi Lal Kaul. It was surprising to find enormous fan following of Shadi Lal even amongst children born after 1990 in the Kashmir valley. Further questioning revealed that they were regularly watching the  TV serial SHABRANG ( 104 episodes )  produced by Farooq Nazki for DDK, 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 DDK,  Srinagar on public demand. Shadi Lal played the lead role of Shamas ud Din in this serialized teledrama. 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 out to be as popular as ' Machama' of Pushker Bhan. Shadi Lal became the face of an ordinary poor or middle-class Kashmiri through his innumerable plays telecast on Doordarshan  or performed on stage at Tagore Hall, Srinagar.

So was his popularity that he would prefer 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 Kaul  a versatile actor of comedy. His roles bring to you the glimpses  from the lives  of clerks, shopkeepers, petty traders, labourers  or an ordinary  man caught in the chores of daily family life.

Born in a middle class family at Chotta Bazar, Srinagar, Shadi Lal Kaul is a self-taught man. Together with his friend Ayaash Aarif ( actor and director ), founded Kali  Das Theatre at Chotta Bazar , Srinagar. He Joined Abdul Rahim Kuchhay  and founded the ' Yasmeen Dramatic Club' or his Nukkad  theatre in Kashmir  . 

" 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. Avtar 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 the television as well. I also did a  small role 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 Kaul.The play 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 advance 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 Ashok Jailkhani . I vividly remember that Rajesh Kaul another Producer in DDK,  Srinagar brought a multistep camera to Tagore hall Srinagar and recorded the play for DDK, Srinagar in another style.
Dastaar  ( Turban ) was a play that touched height of popularity in Kashmir valley. Written by  Hari Krishen Kaul 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 . The  play was produced by Kamal Theatre Badyaar Bala and directed by Santosh Tiku . Shadi Lal acted as Section Officer in this play and received 'Best Actor Award '  for his superb role  .  The dialogue from this play "Kusum Lata Nein Bataa Kheytaa " is still popular in the valley . This play was also produced for  DDK, Srinagar by Ashok jailkhani wherein another talented actor  H. N .Gurtoo performed an equally  impressive role. Dastaar was again done for DD1 channel with Shadi Lal again in the lead role.


( H N Gurtoo who co- acted with Shadi Lal Kaul  in Dastaar  a popular TV Serial ) 

  Another  popular TV serial done for DDK, Srinagar "RANGAN HEUND RANG " written by Pushker Bhan and directed by Dr Sohan Lal Koul  had Shadi Lal Koul as the lead character Nikka Kottur   .I am also reminded of a comedy serial called  'Cherry Treuch'  written by Makhan  Lal Saraf and directed by Ayash Aarif for DD Kashir wherein Shadi Lal played the role of Gopi Nath Gagroo. Another Comedy 'Ghulam Begum Badshah'  for DD Kashir directed by Ayaash Aarif had Shadi lal playing the main character Mokhta Mir. None can forget the comedy 'Tijaratuk assan Tareeqa ' written for DDK, Srinagar by Hriday Kaul Bharti produced and directed by Shabir Mujahid. Shadi Lal acted as Master Ji in this popular drama .' Gaaash Inuss Taam ' was another   play written by Hriday Kaul Bharti and directed by Rajesh Kaul for DDK, Srinagar wherein  Shadi lal's dialogue " Maaji Hinz driyee Kaami Doah Guvv Zaayee " is still remembered by people in  the valley . Shadi Lal also acted in three episodes of 'Gul Gulshan Gulfaam ' under Cinevista banner .


                                                                Look at  him carefully and you find humour in his mannerism and body language. He makes appropriate use of his hands and facial expressions. His steps on  the 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 Shukriya  directed by Rajesh Kaul . His acting field is not confined to Kashmir theatre alone . I remember his acting in a Hindi play Dulari Bai in 1981. The play was produced by Pragaash Theatre and directed by Vijay Khushoo. When Dr Sohan Lal Kaul 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 the best actor award for this play as well . Again when Mohan Niraash translated a Kannada play by S L Bairappa , Shadi Lal was the first choice of the director for the lead role.
 “ Some  artists from whom I draw inspiration include Vijay Suri , Makhan Lal Saraf, Jawahar Wanchoo, Ghulam Nabi Baba and Pran Chandra. I also prefer good scriptwriters  like  Ali Mohd lone,  Hriday Kaul Bharti ,Farooq Masoodi , Bashir Dada and Hari krishen Kaul .”

The plays that made him popular are

1 'Manziel Nikka' ( Cradle Baby ) by Moti lal Kemu .  A stage drama in Pather style.Shadi Lal acted as Jawaan Maskharaa. Shadi Lal got the best actor award.

2 'Pagaah Sholi Duniyaa' by Makhan lal saraf, for television

3 'Gulnaar 'a television  serial drama written by Amin Shakir

4 'Anjaam ' a television  serial drama written by Virender Patwari.

5 'Local Taxes Extra' written by Dr Sohan Lal Kaul performed on television  and stage. Shadi Lal got  the best actor award

6 'Pazer Yeli Moodh' by Makhan Lal Saraf , a television  drama produced and directed by M. L. Kharoo.

7 'Wukir Baaneh' by Sajood sailani for DDK, Srinagar

8 'Dastaar' by Hari krishen Kaul performed on stage as well as for DDK, Srinagar and DD National .

9 'Tassruff' performed  on stage.  The play was written by Amin Shakir . Shadi Lal got the best actor award.

10' Zallur' written by Bashir Dada and performed on stage in 1982. Again performed on DDK, Srinagar  . Shadi Lal got  the best actor award .'

11 'Gruhun 'a play written for the stage by D.K. Ganju

12 'Cactus' written for the stage by Dr Sohan Lal Kaul.

13 'Yeli Sangar Pholunn' a play written for stage by Bashir Dada .

14 'Hero Machama' written by Pushker Bhan

15 'Tikoon' A  French story of Gye De Maupassant translated for stage by Dr Sohan Lal Kaul

16 'Laash Ghar' written for stage by Dr Sohan Lal Kaul

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 'Jattaa Vanai'  for DDK,  Srinagar produced and directed by Bashir Qadiri.

( Sadiq memorial society conferred' Life Time Achievement' award to Shadi Lal Kaul for his contribution to Kashmiri. theatre )

 His  Latest TV Serials  include

1 'Naav Durr Aab' for DDK, Srinagar directed by Ayaash Aarif .

2 'Yelee Gaash Pholee' for DDK ,Srinagar directed by Ayaash Aarif . .

1' Vaayee Bichor' for DDK, Srinagar produced and directed by Shabir Haider

Shadi Lal's popular Dialogues

1 GONNAY BAA NAA  KARRAH  NA  SHRAAN from the TV play BAA CHADUTHH NA written by Farooq Masoodi and directed by Mir Mushtaq.

2 BEGUM SALAL TSE KYAAZI GOYEE MALAAL. from TV serial SHABRANG directed by Farooq Nazki.

3 GANAA GOKHAA FANAA. from TV serial SHABRANG directed by Farooq Nazki.


5 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 the people from the valley. Avtar 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 television. 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 Tongawalla 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. 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 lives happily with his small family. His son Vijay kaul holds a degree in animation.His wife Lalita Ji is a  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 the dreaded  Cancer. Shadi Lal breaks down and turns serious even at the slightest mention of this painful episode of his life.


So long so much on Shadi Lal Kaul. I end this post with  a quatrain of Urdu Poet Ali Sardar Jafri..

“Zindagaani ne diya hai ye mujhe hukm ki Tu
 Shab e Tareeq ke daaman mein sitaare bhar de
Phoonk de Jamaa hai Jitnaa Khas o khashak e Nifaaq
Qalb e Insaan mein Mohabbat Ke sharaare  bhardDe"
( Ali Sardar Jafri )
( Life has decreed upon me
That I should,
decorate the hem of the dark night with shining stars,
blow away all that lies heaped with us
as rubbish of disagreement and hate;
and then,
fill every human heart
with bright sparks of love)
(Avtar Mota)

Creative Commons License
Based on a work at http:\\\.