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October 25, 2020

It was all giggles and guffaws on last day of Karachi Theatre Festival 2020


October 25, 2020

Veteran actor, writer and television host Anwar Maqsood on Friday described the Karachi Theatre Festival 2020 as something no less than a miracle because it did not seem to him a human task to stage a total of around 25 plays during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was speaking as chief guest at the culmination ceremony of the festival. Maqsood was full of praise for the young talents that participated in the production of the plays.

He, however, advised the young actors only to work in television dramas after reading their scripts. He said a good script can make up for bad acting and bad direction and forces the viewers to watch the show; however, nothing can compensate a bad script.

Recalling some of the great writers formerly associated with television drama such as Ashfaq Ahmed, Bano Qudsia, Haseena Moin, Munnu Bhai and Noorul Huda Shah, he lamented the current state of television drama in the country and called for bringing reforms to it.

Maqsood’s speech was laden with his trademark wit. Alluding to the recent political tensions in the country, he said he had started writing a play that would be titled ‘Mazaar Par Dhamaal’.

Earlier, the ceremony host, Huma Mir, had told the audience that during one of the recent events at the Arts Council, they had to call police and Rangers for help as far more people had arrived than what they had expected and the Arts Council administration could not manage them by itself.

Referring to this comment by the host, Maqsood said one must not use the words of ‘police’ and ‘Rangers’ these days because it has become difficult to differentiate them from each other as we are still not sure whether that were police or the Rangers that conducted a certain raid (for the arrest of Captain Safdar).

At the end, Maqsood praised Arts Council President Ahmed Shah for his leadership during the pandemic times. He, however, ended the speech on a hilarious note by declaring that Ahmed Shah was the Qaim Ali Shah of the Arts Council.

Maqsood also distributed awards to the directors of the plays staged during the festival. The recipients included both newcomers and experienced theatre artistes such as Zain Ahmed, Ubaid Iqbal, Zeeshan Nalwala, Rauf Afridi, Kulsoom Aftab, Uzma Sabeen, Farhan Alam and Zarqa Naz.

Goodluck Darling

As if Maqsood’s speech had not generated enough giggles, the last play of the festival presented after the ceremony was penned by Ather Shah Khan Jaidi, the name which is synonymous with laughter for many.

Titled, ‘Goodluck Darling’, the play was a comedy all and all. It was not for those who want comedies to have some thought-provoking stuff as the script had little or no serious content with all of its characters being caricatures.

However, those who had come to laugh incessantly, the play completely served its purpose with many doing nothing but guffawing after every few seconds. Besides the script, it was definitely the acting by all the cast members and brilliant direction by Farhan Alam that ensured that every act struck the chord with the audience.

The story begins with a businessman, Seth Amjad (played by Aqeel Ahmed), on the verge of bankruptcy as he has a massive loan to repay to his adversary Khwaja (played by Sarmad Khan) while his factory has been gutted by a fire.

The only man that Amjad finds to seek advice is his loyal servant Gola (played by Hammad Khan), who is all and all a caricature as his all demeanour is full of eccentricities. The actor played the part of Gola very well and he was arguably the biggest source of laughter among all the other who in no way showed any weakness in playing their roles.

Gola advises Amjad to again marry off his daughter Seema (played by Bazelah Mustafa) to her former husband Sikander (Samhan Ghazi) as they both had a joint account in which a large amount of money had been deposited that could be used to pay off the loan. Interestingly, Sikander also seems to be willing to remarry Seema; however, it was later revealed that he was a pawn of Khwaja who had orchestrated Amjad’s bankruptcy by setting his factory ablaze.

However, Seema must have to marry another person and get divorced by him before she could tie the knot again with Sikander. To resolve this problem, Gola arranges a mentally challenged person, Badshah (played by Kashif Hussain), who enters Amjad’s house. Meanwhile, another intruder played by Fraz Chottani, who is interested in Seema, keeps on visiting the house.

A slapstick action takes place as all the characters enter the house ending in an unexpected twist in which Khwaja is exposed and arrested, leading to a happy ending, which left the audience satisfied as they had got that entertainment for which they had come for.