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September 12, 2015

For those who endeavour for rationality amid spirituality, a must-see at Napa

Karachi

September 12, 2015

Karachi
There’s an element of spirituality in all of us. All human beings have it; whether we are conscious of it or would like to own up to it is another matter.
Things, however, assume an interesting turn when this divine element assumes gargantuan proportions and blinds one to the ways of the world, as has been depicted in 'Baba Jalinoos', a play directed by Napa graduate Fawad Khan that was previewed by the press at the academy's auditorium on Thursday evening.
Baba Jalinoos, an imposter masquerading as a mendicant, manages to gain entry into a home where the elders are so taken up by his holiness and his “divine” character that they become totally enslaved to him, in particular Azam, the male head of the family, and his elderly mother. They refuse to listen to the entreaties of the younger generation who doubt his antecedents and are sick of his condemnation of their more social lifestyle.
They challenge the imposter’s sermons in favour of communion with heaven. They are highly sceptical of the peer’s divine antecedents and try to convince Azam not to allow himself to be taken for a ride, but Azam and his mother will have none of it and severely reprimand the children.
In fact, Azam is so overwhelmed by the man’s spirituality and his mastery of the esoteric that he not only wills all his property to him but even decides to marry his young daughter to Baba Jalinoos, ignoring the protests of the children.
However, it turns out that the Baba is actually enamoured of Azam’s wife, Alvina. The dénouement comes when Alvina fakes a romantic session with the Baba who is so overcome with his beastly instincts that he violently throws of his robe and dress and lunges at the woman.
Azam, who has been hiding under the settee all this while, emerges from under it and pastes the Baba good and proper.
Thus, a very profound theme is brought home through a slapstick farce teeming with the most humorous of rhyming dialogues.

The play drives across the message that while we cannot dispense with the spiritual at all, as it forms an important part of our being, we must not go overboard in our search for it and must find a harmonious balance between the spiritual and the temporal in our existence.
We just cannot dispense with the ways of the world and, while remaining upright and honest in our living, we still can cater to our temporal needs.
All the cast members did their roles due justice but the one who really stood out by executing her role most dexterously was Mehvish Farooqi who, as Azam’s wife Alvina, added such a lot of life and verve to her role with her perky presentation of dialogues as one who is trying to ensnare Baba Jalinoos into a trap.
A must-see for those who endeavour to find rationality amid spirituality, the play directed by Napa graduate Fawad Khan runs up until September 20.

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