Kyun Nikala

  • 25 Aug - 31 Aug, 2018
  • Omair Alavi
  • Reviews

Karachi might lack in a lot of things but when it comes to entertainment, it is blessed with the best in the business and Anwar Maqsood’s latest play Kyun Nikala is one such example. The play is currently being staged at the Arts Council and takes you on a laugh-out-loud ride that was missing from the theatre community of Karachi in general and, Pakistan in particular. It is one of those plays where the audience doesn’t get preached yet is taught a few things about history, by the way, in Maqsood’s unique style.

Directed by Dawar Mehmood of Kopykats Productions, the play revolves around two major characters – Chaudhry, the master (Sajid Hasan) and Mujeeb, the Bengali cook (Mohsin Ejaz). Both have been with each other for over 30 years, with the cook knowing his master inside out and the master fully aware of this very fact. That’s why whenever something takes a bad turn, Chaudhry sahib turns to his man Friday for help and they often escape from tricky situations with the cook leading the way. Be it Chaudhry’s ability to crack lame jokes or his wife’s wrath, the cook remains calm throughout and proves his loyalty to his boss.

However, things don’t turn out the way as they had expected ahead of the General Elections 2018, as Chaudhry’s leader is in trouble and so is the party. That’s when every other political party thinks of making Chaudhry a part of their party. Add a NAB officer, a transgender tailor, a greedy lawyer, some political workers, few undisclosed assets and a wife who scares the living daylights out of Chaudhry and, you have a play that entertains you for its entire 90 minutes’ duration. The cook carries the entire plot on his shoulders and reminds you of Saleem Nasir’s Akbar, Mojiz Hasan’s Bengali and a few other characters written by Maqsood for TV and theatre at the same time.

Let’s talk about the performances before moving to the script and direction. Sajid Hasan is a revelation as the Chaudhry who is a flirt, a politician, a husband, a master, as well as a corrupt official. When he sees a beautiful girl, the flirt takes over; when political workers come to meet him, he turns into the corrupt guys that he is and so on. The moments where he moves his arms to signal the victory of his party or dances to a political song are the highlights of his role apart from the many witty dialogues he delivers here and there. Mohsin Ejaz as the Bengali cook does a decent job considering he is playing an old man when in reality he is not old at all. The accent may confuse the audience since it’s a theatre play but after a few minutes into the play, everything becomes clear. His dialogues to the audience that he terms as khalayi makhlooq are good and make things understandable without wasting any time. the play also has veteran actor Nazar Hussain in dual roles – a transgender and a NAB officer, and he does justice to both. Kudos to the female actors who play Chaudhry sahib’s wives, for they must be commended for standing their ground in front of an experienced thespian like Sajid Hasan.

The play’s lines are as witty as they could get; the veteran scriptwriter cracks amusing jokes about everything in Pakistan and gets away with it because as soon as the Chaudhry or the cook deliver the line, he counters it with another one. He uses political workers from various political parties to make fun of Chaudhry’s party and vice versa, such is his grip on the script. The audience thinks twice on more than a dozen occasions and why not; when you hear about the bunny in the gala or the kheeray ka set, you are made to wonder how Maqsood’s mind works. Be it talking to the audience or to the characters on the stage, his magic never fades away and keeps the audience busy one way or the other.

Dawar Mehmood’s direction keeps the play in check. To do justice to Maqsood’s lines is a very difficult job and Dawar excels in it just the way he did in the August series, Haaf Playt, Aangan Terrha, Siachen, and Dharna. He may not have the expertise of his usual troupe but whatever talent he was able to find for this play, looked as good. It would have been great had he acted in the play in any capacity but it seems that directing a hit play was more important to him after the failure of Bananistan and Hua Kuch Yun. One hopes that in the coming days, Maqsood writes more theatre plays for Dawar’s Kopykats Productions so that the audience could laugh on literal jokes instead of the cheap slapstick comedy that we get to see on stage these days. With Maqsood’s return, youngsters might get to learn few things about writing and acting which is exactly how his first spell helped them. There are still a lot of TV plays of his that could do well in theatre and one hopes to see Nasri Ganay, Mirza & Sons and others on stage in upcoming days. May the theatre be back to its lost glory through quality stage dramas!