In 2018, director Dawar Mehmood of Kopykats Productions joined hands with playwright/satirist Anwar Maqsood – after a gap of three years – for a theatre production called Kyun Nikala. The play generated great response given that it was penned by Anwar Maqsood and had a successful, extended run in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
In 2019, a collaboration between the two is coming our way. Dawar and Anwar Maqsood have united for a theatre play called Naach Na Jaanay, which according to the playwright is a prequel to Aangan Terha that the two re-created for the stage in February 2013. A press conference was held at the Karachi Arts Council earlier this week to announce the upcoming play.
Anwar Maqsood, who was present on the occasion, shared that this is the first theatre play that will be produced by the Karachi Arts Council. He revealed that the amount raised from this production will go to artists who are no longer working and/or are retired and need support for survival.
“This play has a purpose,” he informed while addressing the press. “The money earned from this play will be distributed among all those artists (writers, musicians, etc) who are sitting at home and don’t have any other source of earning. It is their right and responsibility of the institution to pay them back for their contribution to arts. Ahmed Shah (President, Arts Council) and I will make sure the money reaches them.”
Reflecting on Naach Na Jaanay and where the idea came from, Anwar sahab added, “Dawar was after me to make Part II of Aangan Terha but I said that’s not possible. Let’s make a prequel instead of a sequel and begin Akbar’s story from 1978 when Zia ul Haq was in power and dance academies were closed and it was eradicated from Pakistan. Our young generation doesn’t know how many things were banned during Zia ul Haq’s era.”
Anwar sahab also revealed that Yasir Hussain, who essayed the role of Akbar in Aangan Terha will reprise the role in Naach Na Jaanay, adding that Yasir pulled off the character really well.
A brilliant theatre actor, Yasir Hussain essayed key roles in several Anwar Maqsood plays such as Pawney 14 August, Sawa 14 August, Aangan Terha in the past. He will be returning to the stage after almost seven years with Naach Na Jaanay.
“With Anwar sahab, Dawar, Arts Council and a cause attached to the project, I couldn’t say no to it,” Yasir Hussain told Instep on the sidelines of the press conference. “Money collected from this production will go to artists who have no support from government or private sector. I was offered plays in the past as well but I am only comfortable with Anwar sahab and Dawar. I am fortunate that I will be working with Anwar sahab yet again. Plays that I did earlier were also directed by Dawar; I hope this one receives a great response too.”
He also maintained that he won’t be taking up any other projects during the course of Naach Na Jaanay as it will require a lot of time and energy. However, he will begin working on a film project later in 2019.
Naach Na Jaanay is expected to premiere in Karachi in March 2019 where it will have a two-month-long run. After Ramazan, the play will head to Lahore and Islamabad where it will be performed for two weeks each. The play will feature both new and experienced actors who have been selected after thorough auditions.
“I am really looking forward to this play,” director of the upcoming production, Dawar Mehmood expressed, speaking to Instep on the sidelines of the event. “I want to beat Aangan Terha. When we were doing Aangan Terha, everyone asked us not to do it. You know when you re-create a classic, people are scared you will ruin it. That didn’t happen. Now with Anwar sahab writing the script, we will be able to beat the record of Aangan Terha.”
Re-creating a classic television play and then making a prequel to it brings a whole lot of responsibility and risk with it. We hope the trio – Anwar sahab, Dawar and Yasir – manage to do justice to the narrative and successfully recreate characters immortalized once upon a time by acting greats like Durdana Butt, Bushra Ansari, Shakeel and the late Salim Nasir in the original TV production.