American actor Brian Stokes Mitchell said, ” People in the performing arts have a lot of other skills they don’t realize they can utilize, and part of what the Actors fund program is there to do is wake their head up to realize there are other things they can do”. A local performing artist met with a tragedy of an actor image only. An artist is such a person who faces criticism boldly, waiting desperately just for a thunderclap. Everybody knows who they are. But nobody knows what hard paths they have walked on to reach the place where they are now. In this segment, let’s talk about the journey of such an artist name Mohd. Yaseen who hails from the far area of District Reasi of the J&k state. He fought tooth and nail to establish his place in theatre. He was only 12 years old when he for the first time participated in the Children’s Theatre organized by the Natrang. “My father Abdul Qadir Kundria became an inspiration to choose performing arts as my field. It was his inclination towards Urdu and Dogri literature which inspired me to make theatre my life. It is because only an artist knows how to translate words into expression,” shares Mohd. Yaseen. To him, “Theatre is a place of redemption for an artist where he discovers the roots of his existence”. Till now, he has participated across nationwide to promulgate the voice of Theatre. An artist dresses himself in diverse roles and adopts the different social environments so that he can communicate the unseen side of society. According to Sanjeev Gupta, a dynamic artist from the state, “For an actor, the major challenge is to live the character which he is not in the actual phase of life. Mohd. Yaseen always master his role whether it is Mahabhoj, Baba Jitoo or any other play”. He worked against the clock to set his feet firmly on the stage. While reflecting on his life, Balwant Thakur, a prominent figure, once on the stage of Matrika Auditorium, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, appreciated him humbly and said, “Yaseen is the heart and soul of Natrang. He manages all the performances, administers the coming events, looks upon the press release and shoot the videos for Natrang wherever the team goes. Natrang is proud to him have with us”. He is still pulling out all the stops to elevate the future of Theatre. He never dropped down his spirits, whenever a difficulty mocked him down. Instead, he believes in starting with beginning. Tahir Mushtaq wrote a brilliant feature tracing his life from childhood to theatre in which he counts his journey as, “Immense opportunities are there in theatre, but one must be consistent while practicing it”. Yaseen believes in making opportunities than waiting for it and wasting the precious hours of life. A facebook page by the name Reasi Updates interviewed him in which he said, “The most memorable part of theatre was when I was among the 15 members of J&K state, who were there about to participate in the 2016 Jammu & Kashmir culture in London”.
Balancing Theatre and education
Life has never been easy to him, the moment he left house to fulfill his ambition, he needed to complete his education as well. It was almost like a roller costar ride. He continued to make headway in the field of studies as well as theatre. An artist learns everything from self discipline to managing skills i.e. why he monitored himself in such a way that he could complete his education along with the theatre. Very few people know about his educational achievements, he has done his Masters in Rural Development and Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication &Journalism.. He is self learned man and maximum of his colleagues ‘seek inspiration from him. Moreover, he was the backbencher during his school days.
It’s a common perspective regarding the artists that they are limited to acting, singing and dancing only. But Yaseen has now earned a special place in the literary field. He took the initiative of penning down the achievements of Natrang and made an attempt to give voice to theatre through the medium of print media. He decided to make Natrang a narrative by writing about the renowned artists of J&K like Anil Tickoo, Chandrasekhar, Pankaj Sharma and so many. Saheeba while interviewing him, he posited, “I am unstable and always unsatisfied, no matter, far how I jump long to the peak of fame because I believe that satisfaction is the enemy of progress and development. There is always a corner of improvement”. One needs to thrive constantly to evolve in a particular field. Although, he belongs to the genre of theatre but he admires the genre of writing as well. Writing imbues his life with reason. He has not bounded himself to a particular field of writing. He observes the roads, tea stalls, and overcrowded markets where the maximum of people could be seen roaming in rush. As a writer, he has not confined his horizon of writing, as he opined, “When an individual takes the responsibility of becoming a writer, it becomes a selfless service”. Not to overlook the fact that he is a writer cum artist and a visionary photographer – he is an analytical researcher as well. While having scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India in 2011 he did the stupendous job by exploring the various Bhand of dying Kashmiri culture ‘Bhand Pather’.
Mohd. Yaseen is an exception who loves art; add the flavor of literariness to it. According to him, he always tries to serve the society in every possible way because society carves us, so it’s our responsibility to return it’s doing. On the whole, he is a walking intellect. Perhaps, that is why, it is said “The gratification comes in doing, not in the results”