The Napa Reparatory Theatre’s (NRT) latest production “Kamla” is a play that revolves largely around hypocritical journalistic practices and the state of human rights in the subcontinent. Written by Asif Farrukhi and directed by Meesam Naqvi, the play is based on a script written originally by Indian playwright Vijay Tendulkar in 1981.
“Kamla” outlines the role of a Delhi-based journalist in exposing wrong-doers in society (people involved in the sex trade). The script also mocks the practice adopted by some journalists who are so lost in sensationalism and the breaking news cycle that they leave ethics behind. The goal then solely is to be on the front page, get a prominent byline and be the editor’s favourite. The actors depict how, in the race to expose corrupt individuals, some journalists are themselves corrupted.
The play commences with a scene in the living room of journalist Jai Singh, who is played brilliantly by Paras Masroor. Singh and his wife Sarita – played by the talented Aiman Tariq – are having tea with her uncle Kaka Sahab, enacted by Ovais Mangalwala. Sarita is seen as a dutiful wife busy answering calls for her husband while he is away in Bihar. When Singh returns, he brings with him a woman called Kamla, played by Mazina Mulk. Singh informs Sarita that she is a sex worker whom he has bought and that she is part of a prostitution den frequented by politicians. He adds that he wants to use her as evidence to expose corrupt politicians involved in encouraging prostitution. He warns her that this information is not to be shared with anyone till he holds a press conference.
In the process of uncovering the truth he finds himself being mocked by his loved ones including his wife and uncle. Kamla, on the contrary, believes that everyone in the house has been bought by Singh – leading her to think that he is evil and one of the corrupt rich men engaged in the sex trade. Actor Saqib Sameer plays the character of Jain, a friend of Singh’s, who is a drunk journalist helping him uncover the truth, but at the same time envies his buddy for breaking such big news.
Satire and sarcasm in plays is something the audience loves, and this is exactly what “Kamla” had in store as it left the audience applauding. The cast tackled serious issues in society and tactfully added humour to them.
Naqvi’s remarkable direction stood out. The play is a highlighly recommened for aspiring journalists as it highlights the highs and lows of a reporter’s career. The play will show at the Karachi Arts Council till Sunday, July 15.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.
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