The verdict on CinderJutt: A one-man show

Published: January 15, 2013

Kudos to academies like Napa that have formally trained artists and produced shows regularly. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Besides Saquib Sumeer’s antics on stage, the play was a major let down. DESIGN: KIRAN SHAHID Kudos to academies like Napa that have formally trained artists and produced shows regularly. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
KARACHI: 

CinderJutt can best be described as a hot curry of cold stereotypes, garnished with a few Bollywood item songs. The cast includes a Pathan, a gandasa-waving Jutt, a homosexual fashion designer and a Lakhnavi man who greets everyone with an “adaab”; there is also a Sikh and an ajrak-clad Sindhi.

The title of the play may pique audiences’ interest for its peculiarity, but the story fails to offer more than an elaborate set design and Bollywood numbers.

Directed by Javed Ahmed Saeedi, the play is a contemporary take on Cinderella. The story is about three brothers, out of which one is ridiculed by the other two and his stepmother. Unfortunately, the script is weak and leaves one wondering where it is headed; it ends with a feel-good public service message of loving Pakistan and promoting education for all. While the non-stop comedy resembles an Omar Sharif play in terms of format, CinderJutt is not nearly as funny or socially relevant.

As far as the play’s strength goes, credit must be given to the CinderJutt team for an elaborate production. From the set design to the duration of the play, it sailed quite smoothly. The set is guaranteed to take your breath away, but the presence of a JS Bank ATM (the official sponsors of the production) is a little out of place. While the tickets are incredibly creative, with a paper ‘platinum credit card’ as “your key to enter the Jutt mansion”, the over emphasis on the sponsor was a bit too much to digest. It reminds one of a PTV play titled Mera Ghar Ek Whirlpool, where deep freezers could be seen in every other shot.

Credit must also be given to the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) for churning out formally trained artists and raising the bar for actors high, proof of which is actor Saqib Sumeer. His phenomenal acting and improvisational skills in CinderJutt singlehandedly hold the play together. Faizan Sheikh, as Talwaar Khan, does well for his small yet noticeable performance, managing to earn smiles. The rest of the cast underperformed, and were almost like A’ Level students working on a big budget. It seems that the organisers of the play stopped at the physical attributes of actors while casting, and didn’t test their endurance for something as intense as theatre.

Not only does the play have Bollywood songs, it has taken inspiration from movies by using clichéd dialogue. One of the characters spoke in a Dabangg-inspired accent and said things like “Eee ka kar raha hai”, instead of “Yeh kia kar raha hai.” The play also included scenes taken from an Omar Sharif play, to which a member from the audience reacted: “Yeh tau Omar Sharif ke dramay mein tha!”

Verdict: The humour in CinderJutt is crude, prejudiced and largely below the belt, quite like the tools adopted in Omar Sharif productions. The only difference is that it is bilingual and is catered to a different audience altogether. All in all, CinderJutt lasts much longer than one would hope for.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Noman Alvi
    Jan 16, 2013 - 2:13AM

    I am sure my comments will not be posted here. Shame on you GUYS.

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  • Noman Alvi
    Jan 16, 2013 - 3:37AM

    Learn to look at the positives RAFAY

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  • Noman Alvi
    Jan 16, 2013 - 3:38AM

    such a negative review…ultimate sadness…

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  • Talha
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:50AM

    I have had such a horrendous experience with Cinderjutt, went along with my family on the 9th of January 2013, there were atleast 150 more people then the capacity of the hall, apparently the sponsors decided to invite more people then the capacity of the hall, people were made to sit on the floor to watch the show, we were there 40 minutes before the start off time of the play and managed to get proper seats, approx 10 minutes before the play was supposed to start two of cousins stood up and went to get popcorns and left their stuff behind on the chairs, Mr.Saeedi came over to our seats physically lifted the stuff of my cousins which included a female handbag and gave the seats to some people who the sponsor’s had invited. We kept on telling him that our people are here and they have gone out to get popcorn however he behaved very rudely and refused to listen to us, while he was doing that my cousins returned but he still gave the seats away.We protested and walked out and the response we got was him telling the crowd “here we have a few more empty seats”. Overall his behavior was rude , indecent and he totally acted like an illiterate person. He asked us to behave like gentlemen when he was the one lifting a female handbag an throwing it around. Very dissappointed.

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  • Adnan Waqar
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:54AM

    I totally agree with the review, it was a pathetic play which did not deserve so much attention. Even I felt that there were too many sexual connotations hence the play should have been given an adult rating and is not suitable for viewing by children. I would however like to commend the actors and performers on their hard work.

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  • askari
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:20AM

    ^Learn to take critique gracefully.

    this is as accurate as it can get! bravo, rafay!

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  • Saad
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:38AM

    Finally a review i can relate to, I totally agree with you, their previous play “Avanti” was much better.Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:04AM

    @Rafay: People like you have lead our country to where it is now!!! So much hate for something which is actually “entertaining” people. If you really consider to be a “critic” please try other mediums as they are full of stuff which one should criticize about. Lets talk about you for instance, how much civic sense do you have? do you obey law? do you give back to the society? are you a good human being? I think by now you must have got my point that there is no point in criticizing all the time!

    We Pakistani don’t have anything else left to do except for criticizing everything!

    Feels suffocated!!!

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  • Jan 16, 2013 - 11:53AM

    Other than the song and dance sequences, i saw it over the weekend
    over sold play, extremely poor script and screenplay, terrible acting, indecent stereotype humour
    play started 45 minutes late
    and why do u have to spend a whole 30 mins of post curtain call….it became too late for dinner as it was midnight by the time we left the arts council.. being there since 745
    wastage of almost an hour and half….
    45 mins delay and 30 mins on credits was not needed
    play also should have been max 90 mins long

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  • Mehboob
    Jan 16, 2013 - 12:01PM

    I went with my friends, I loved the play, after a long time I saw a geniune comedy by Pakistani artist. No copying of indian or hollywood stuff and the dances were amazing. I would love to go to other plays by Saeedi. At the end of the show I met Saeedi, he is very creative and polite guy.

    If it was that bad as you have written in your review then why people are going nuts to watch the play.

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  • Afshan
    Jan 16, 2013 - 12:50PM

    Extremely disappointing plays ive ever seen! Ive been following all the plays of NAPA and Karachi Arts Council since childhood but thing like cinderjutt was a complete rip off! I would bought a cd of bakra qiston par in 60 rupees rather than paying thousand bucks for the same comdey ive seen in omar sharifs play.

    I totally agree with the writer!

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  • Khalid
    Jan 16, 2013 - 2:04PM

    Don’t agree with reference made to Omar Shareef. He is an improv legend and should not be compared to such commercial projects.

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  • Nadia
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:04PM

    Play did not meet the hype, it was loud, offensive, and crude, and couldnot end soon enough. Unfortunately the audience had to sit through another 20 mins for the curtain call. Have never been more relieved to leave a play before.

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  • anam
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:30AM

    i believe the article written is preposterously biased and embroiled in negativity. starting with the fact that theatre is an emerging form of art in pakistan that is gathering acceptance from the masses gradually, critical articles like yours are just bound to discourage it. I have been personally involved in the production of the play through the efforts of my friends and I say this in the most objective manner possible trying to downplay all emotions, that the elaborate sets and the dance numbers and the acting all requires months and months of efforts by the actors whom you have so conveniently labelled as O and A levels students. You should be happy about the fact that such young talent is emerging and shows us an optimistic picture of the theatre in the future years of come. Grooming them over the years would help them become what Mr. Saqib has become on stage, a legend to say the least. So i urge you as a theatre lover and as an art lover to show some positivity from the play. I have seen many plays myself and everytime i go, i go with the intention to have entertainment lift my mood and every time an act that clicks does it for me, an average theatre lover. Your cynicism is highly unappreciated but then again, that is what is wrong with people who dont see the motivation and just see the end.

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  • Shahzeb Ishaq
    Jan 21, 2013 - 11:29PM

    (I am not associated in any way with the play or any of the actors / director / producer etc. I am a normal audience..the one who makes or brakes the play…the one, for whom plays are performed for )

    Article is very very biased..totally agree with Anam.
    Rafay..learn to be a bit open minded and impartial when writing articles.

    As for Talha..I was in that very show as well..and well the way he narrated the event is a total exxageration..it was NOT how it went…yes the venue was overflowing..there were people on the stairs..but still it was one of the most enjoyable and entertaining theatre I have ever witnessed.

    Soo much talent..soo much creativity..and the actors overall did justice to their role. Yes there were crude references at times..but it was all in good taste. I believe every actor did justice and achieved in producing more than a few laughs. I watched the play twice and now trying to watch for the third time before the end of Jan.

    Rafay…try to be more responsible…stop being such a pessimist..Learn to appreciate…its evolution..its how things evolve..try to enjoy it and appreciate it. Your words can make or break careers…try to give the reader a true picture and not such a prejudiced view. Shame on You!!!!!!!

    As for the Umer Sharif play scene …the one with the Adaab….well it is well known to any theater viewer..so it is not plagiarism..but more of a remake..a new take on things..and they did manage to bring back the memory of the real act…the one with Umer and Lehri I believe!!

    I was shocked to read your article…so much shocked that I was compelled to write ..for the very first time…I guess you had a bad day when u took the task to watch and write about this play..Or maybe..just maybe..you did not get the protocol you hoped for, at the play. Very Very Bad..I thought people like you should be mature enough to not let personal stuff cloud judgement!!!.

    PEOPLE..ITS A VERY NICE PLAY..MUST WATCH!!!..KUDOS TO THE FULL TEAM

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