Kathak Aur Pakistan Ki Kahaani

Kathak Aur Pakistan Ki Kahaani

Still from the film ‘Kahaani Kathak Ki’

Dance, as a form of artistic expression, transcends boundaries, cultures, and languages. One such classical dance form that has endured through centuries and continents is Kathak. Originating from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, Kathak has journeyed across borders, influencing artistic landscapes in various countries, including Pakistan.

Dancers wear ankle bells.

Kathak, derived from the Sanskrit word "Katha," meaning story, is a classical dance form known for its intricate footwork, graceful movements, and expressive storytelling. Its origins can be traced back to ancient India, where it flourished as a form of entertainment in temples and royal courts. Over the centuries, Kathak evolved, blending influences from Hindu mythology, Persian culture, and Mughal patronage, shaping it into the vibrant and diverse art form we recognize today.

With the partition of India in 1947, Kathak found a new home in Pakistan. Many Kathak artists, including renowned maestros, migrated from India to Pakistan, bringing with them their expertise and passion for the art form. Despite the geographical divide and challenges Kathak continued to survive in Pakistan, adapting to its new cultural milieu while retaining its essence.

While rooted in tradition, Kathak in Pakistan has also evolved to reflect contemporary sensibilities. Modern choreographies blend classical Kathak movements with innovative expressions, exploring themes relevant to contemporary society. This fusion of tradition and innovation has contributed to the enduring relevance of Kathak in Pakistani dance circles.

Despite its enduring popularity, Kathak in Pakistan faces challenges, including limited institutional support, financial constraints, and societal perceptions. However, initiatives aimed at promoting cultural heritage and arts education offer hope for the future of Kathak in the country. Through collaborations, education outreach programs, and advocacy efforts, Kathak enthusiasts strive to ensure its continued growth and relevance in Pakistani society.

Pakistan boasts a rich lineage of Kathak exponents who have made significant contributions to the art form. From pioneers who laid the foundation for Kathak in the country to contemporary maestros shaping its future, these artists have played a pivotal role in preserving and promoting Kathak in Pakistan.

The Kathakaars of Pakistan


Four such individuals are: Nahid Siddiqui, Nighat Chaudhry, Sheema Kermani and Suhaee Abro.

Nahid Siddiqui is one of the world’s leading Kathak dancers. She was entranced by Kathak and dance as a child when her mother started taking her to variety shows in Karachi. She trained under two highly esteemed gurus; Baba Maharaj and Birju Maharaj and has taught dance all over the world.

Nighat Chaudhry has been a professional Kathak dancer for over three decades. Her remarkable journey in the world of dance also encompasses her work on women’s rights in Pakistani society.

 Sheema Kermani was one of the few dancers left in the 1980’s when the performing arts were labeled unislamic. She is not one to back down, instead she founded Tehrik e Niswan to use the performing arts as a medium for educating women and marginalized communities about their rights. Not only is Sheema an incredible Kathak dancer and teacher, she has also come to represent a constantly-evolving culture of resistance.

Her student Suhaee Abro is a performing artist born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. Abro has been trained in classical dances such as Bharatanatyam and Kathak since the age of seven and has done various stage and TV/film work.


Suhaee and Sheema both are featured in the film ‘Kahaani Kathak Ki’  by @aafrinishbyniazis and @niazis.


‘Kahaani Kathak Ki’ celebrates culture, recognizes the power of persistence and is a nostalgic reminder of our heritage.

Heirlooms now and forever…


Watch the film here :







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