The Zoroastrian community of Karachi is famous for a multitude of reasons: philanthropy, its cultural beliefs, a unique culinary cuisine and entertainment are just to name a few.
Over the weekend of October 13th and 14th, the entertainment sub-committee of the Karachi Zarathushti Bannu Mandal – as part of its centenary celebrations – organised a Gujrati natak (play) at the APWA Auditorium in Saddar, which was open to non-Zoroastrians as well.
Titled ‘Boeing Boeing’ – Tun popteeo nu ek destination! (one common destination for three women), the cast comprised household Zoroastrian entertainers like Adar Wadia, Yazdi Haveliwala, Farzain Messman, Kaizer Irani, and debutants Armita Bhesania and Maneckji and Avan Appoo. Captivating the audience with a satirical and metaphor-laden script, director Adam Rathore ensured the audience left with their sides splitting with a continuous onslaught of humorous one-liners and boisterous interaction between the cast. The theme was reminiscent of past Zoroastrian nataks – the central character, Taimul/Timmy/Tom, played by Farzain, engaged to three women, Binaifer Chinoy (Kaizer), Jennifer (Avan) and Rita (Armita), with each woman believing they were his one true love.
Of course Taimul/Timmy/Tom (he kept different names for each of his fiancés) did his best to hide this fact, using his servant Afla (Yazdi) and friend Goru Gorpapliwala (Maneckji) help him conceal the truth. Bribing Afla was central to this charade.
The fact that Binaifer, Jennifer and Rita were air hostesses was laden with irony, as all three had different work schedules, which meant that Taimul made Afla note down in a diary their itineraries to ensure they would never know of his antics. His fiances would constantly tell Taimul, “Darling, tu aatloo faithful che” (Darling, you are so faithful).
The real twist came when Taimul’s Kakajee (uncle, played by Adar) came to live in his house (Taimul was merely an occupant). A clever and suspicious man, he knew from the get go that there was something wrong as his nose, as sharp as a hound, could smell perfume in the house.
At this point, due to some mishaps, Binaifer, Jennifer and Rita were simultaneously present in the house, with a nervous wreck Taimul, Goru and Afla did their best to prevent them bumping into each other and into Kakajee. Then, as is a daily routine, the electricity was cut-off, which led Kakajee to go check the electricity circuits. His nephew replied, “Circuit ghalat jaga par lagse to badhoo pari jasey” (If you plug the circuit in the wrong socket, you’ll lose your manhood). When the lights were back, everyone had assembled into the living room, and there was disbelief on everyone’s faces when the truth was revealed. The wise Kakajee imparted wisdom on his nephew, telling him what he did was wrong by playing with the feelings of “not one, not two, but three poptees.” He also had words of wisdom for the three women, telling them they should have realised what a cheeky and cunning person his nephew was.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2012.