Another brilliant play delivered by the team of KopyKats productions and Anwar Maqsood. I for one have been extremely happy that the legend has been writing for theatre in the last 1 and a half – 2 years. Starting from Pawnay Chauda August till his latest one on stage now – Haaf Playt, all the plays have been fantastic and definitely a pleasure to have witnessed.
The level of theatre has certainly gone up quite a few notches over the past couple of years with the medium gaining steady momentum with more talent coming forward than before. And Anwar Maqsood’s contribution will certainly go a long way in ensuring a further inflow of the same. Credit must also be given to Dawar Mehmood, the young director who has teamed up with the legend to do absolute justice to the masterful writing.
Coming to the latest offering – Haaf Playt, a second time that a TV screenplay has been adapted for the stage (the first one being Aangan Tera and unfortunately the only one that I have missed from these two). Haaf Playt was as put by Anwar Maqsood a tribute to his departed friends and fellow greats – Khalida Riasat, Moin Khan and others from the team of the original. The show is on at Arts Council, Karachi since 10th December and will run till 4th January (more information can be taken from KopyKats productions Facebook page).
The play is brilliantly written, very well directed and the acting was superb. It was the very typical Anwar Maqsood style of mixing ‘sanjeedgi’ with humor. As always I will not write anything about the story here so as to ensure I don’t spoil the play for anyone. All I will say is that you will love it, laugh throughout and in fact will probably in laughing fits for some of the parts.
Coming to the actors – another plus point for Dawar, he has found a good core team that has been sticking together for the series of plays being done in collaboration with the writing of Anwar Maqsood. That helps with the on stage and off stage chemistry and thus translates into a superb output. All the characters were executed with justice. I couldn’t pin point a weak character (acting wise or delivery wise) even if I wanted to.
Some of the more standout performances were of course the lead characters Mirza, Bano and Butt Sahab.
Mirza Nafees Barailwi is played by Yasir Hussain (sindhi/pathan from Sawa Chauda August and Akbar from Aangan Terrha). Mirza is perfectly captured by the actor in the complete essence of being a Urdu speaking writer who is mostly fond of being lost in his world of reading, writing, philosophy and poetry. And wants nothing to do with dealing with certain harsh realities that come with this profession in today’s age of inflation and tight salaries.
Maryam Saleem plays the part of Bano – Mirza’s wife. Again very well delivered. A woman dealing with the financial constraints that come with husband’s profession territory to a non productive son’s mother to a soul having to deal with unrequited love and a life that could have been.
Last but not least and also my favorite from the play – Butt sb played by Zahid Ahmed (Jinnah from Sawa 14 August). A land lord engulfed in humanity while having to chase after rent due to him of the last 8 years. The accent, the delivery, the emotions were all fantastic. It was not just his dialogues but also his reactions on stage and expressions that won it for me.
All in all everyone was brilliant. Yasir and Zahid do stand out as amazing talents (given their previous plays as well). They delivered before and they delivered in this play as well.
Kudos Anwar Maqsood, Dawar Mehmood, KopyKats productions and the entire team of Haaf Playt for what I am sure will be a successful run over the course of the show till the 4th.
And also kudos to all the companies and organizations that have been supporting theatre over the last few years. AKD in this case would get my humble thanks for arranging the show on the 12th of December in which I was fortunate to have been able to see the play.
Long live theatre – may it continue to prosper and grow in Pakistan.