Mahvash Faruqi, along with Asma Mundrawala and actor-director Saife Hasan, formed the Karachi-based Zambeel Dramatic Readings in 2011. The Zambeel Dramatic Readings group became popular for its enthralling live readings of iconic works in Urdu including that of Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Quratul Ain Hyder and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, among others. As one journalist noted about the impact of ZDR in 2017, “Zambeel readings have reintroduced the cultural tradition of dastangoi.”
In order to make their readings accessible to a larger audience, ZDR came out with an audio series titled Zambeelnama on YouTube in 2016. The group was actively involved with Karachi Literature Festival, Lahore Biennale and Faiz International Festival.
Mahvash Faruqi was also a member of the Sheema Kermani-led theatre group Tehrik-e-Niswan. Kermani took to social media and expressed her grief. “Saddened and shocked to hear about another loss to Tehrik-e-Niswan, one of our oldest members Mahvash Faruqi passes away to the deadly cancer,” Kermani wrote on her official Facebook handle.
“She had acted in some of our most outstanding plays, Aik Hazar Aur Aik Thee Rataen, Zikr-e-Nashunida, Amar Bael and Jinnay Lahore Nahi Vekhya. Condolences to Moeen Faruqi, Maliha Ahmed and all the family. A very fine actor and a very fine person. She will be deeply missed – too young to be taken away so soon!”
Salt Arts also took to Instagram and noted, “Rest peacefully Mahvash Faruqi. She had the soul of a smiling storyteller, an intense artistic voice and gentle presence. We worked with Mahvash when she performed as part of the Zambeel Dramatic Readings trio at the Women of the World festival in Karachi in 2016. We wish her eternal peace.”