While I walked into this play with no expectations whatsoever, from the posters of it, it seemed like a serious issue based storyline, which it was. What started of as a pretty good social comment on the system via the eyes of an NRP (non resident pakistani), the narrative just started to build up on the cliches and stereotypes of society. Its one thing to write a satire, and the other to make it preachy. The script sadly, fell into the latter category. The narrative starts off on a very promising note establishing the main plot as well as a few sub-plots, however its all downhill from there on. The play, touches upon different aspects yet it seems like its just listing down what the audiences already know, given the current situation of the city. The audience can predict what will happen next, and there in lies the problem. The play never rose from the unexpected. The painful, melodramatic monologue, fitted into the script, by the protagonist, did not help the cause much either. Its execution made the whole thing, seemingly written in to either extend or just wanting to emotionally lump up the audience just coz the script was not able to do so. Abdullah Farhatullah needed to review the script and make it into a brilliant political satire (which it had the full potential and possibilites to do so! Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola anyone!). One of the reasons could be that the writers and makers would’ve wanted to play(pun totally intended) safe. The final nail in the coffin came in the form of using the age old formula of a patriotic song with characters coming in from audience and waving the green flag to get the audience going. Like really! how old do u think we were.
Of the performances, the actors really try hard to rise above the mediocre script and some of them even succeed in doing so on many occassions. Ahmed Ali as the main protagonist with his Noor (the model and actor) like looks, dialogue delivery (better than the model) and lingering look fits the character well and does what he can to save the play through his performance. He is honest, poised (which his character demands) but not unhibited. Rabia Leghari is wasted as Farkhanda aunty. I wonder after cinderjutt, where she did so well, what prompted her to take this one up. Two actors who remain with you after the play purely because of their performances. One is Hunain Maniar as Khadim (servant) of the family. His performance is unhibited, fun and he seems to have a ball playing the character. Such performances, in turn involve audiences automatically because of how they are performed. He picks up on the mannerisms of a balochi servant quite convincingly and is not afraid of sinking his teeth into the character. Another performance has to be that of S.H.O. Noor Daad by Usman Ali Khan. The nuances of a corrupt police, though cliched, are picked up brillantly by this actor. Providing the comic releif in the play, the actor manages to steal all the praise right from under the protagonists nose. During the play, people were actually waiting for him to show up. Perfect timing and unhinged performance, which is not scared to make a fool out of himself, Usman Ali makes this corrupt officer loveable to say the least. A mention of S.M. Jameel who puts forward an honest performance. The sets reminded me of PTV drama serials from mid nineties, however were well made. The songs were out of place and could have been easily done away with. Talal Rehman’s choreography, though good, didnt add much to the narrative (He has his Avanti benchmark to live up to).