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What caused Palestine artistes’ show cancellation?
Anjali Jhangiani | Tuesday, 2 February 2016 AT 02:15 PM IST
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Pune:
Four theatre artistes from Palestine had come to the city to showcase their presentation - ‘The Return of Joha’ and their first show held at Sudarshan Hall on January 28, was supposed to be followed by performances at Artsphere, Mazda Hall and The Loft.

However, it was suddenly cancelled due to a dispute with organiser Hina Siddiqui, founder of the theatre group Orchestrated Q’Works, the facilitator of the Palestine artistes’ visit to Pune. Hina Siddiqui has claimed that the shows were cancelled not because of any dispute but due to a death of a relative of one of the performers in Palestine.

Anubha Doshi from Artsphere said, “I was informed that one of the grandparents of the artistes had passed away and hence, they had to leave for home immediately. The same was conveyed by Siddiqui to officials at other venues as well.”

After their debut show at Sudarshan Hall, Siddiqui threw the forum open for the audience to ask the artistes anything they wanted to. After the artisets answered questions and spoke about their life in Palestine,  Siddiqui passed a bag around so that the audience can contribute any amount of money they wanted to. This sparked off an argument between the artistes and Siddiqui.

“We told Hina that we don’t want the money to be collected, we will pay for the miscellaneous expenses. And even if you want to collect money, you should put a box with the name of the threatre group and write a message for the audience to put in money while going out of the hall. Passing a bag around, specially after the intense talk about Palestine, was wrong and insulting to us and hurts our dignity,” said Mustafa Statiti, an artiste from Palestine, adding, “She said if you do not like the money collected this way, then, I will have to cancel the shows and we said okay.”

“I don’t have a clear and honest reason for why they cancelled the shows. Someone expired in their family and they chose to go back and deal with issues,” said Siddiqui. The team of artistes, saddened with the way they were treated in the city, went to Goa to spend the rest of their stay in the country. On further probing, Siddiqui, who had to pay for lighting and other expenses to set up the stage for a show, said, “They told me that if I send the bag around, the money should come to us. There was a misunderstanding there.”

Statiti, in a telephonic conversation from Goa, said, “We did not want the money because dignity is important to us.
 
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