Pawnay 14 August: Silence for brilliance

Anwar Maqsood's play is one of the best on offer in years - but where are the rave reviews?

Adil Mulki March 30, 2012
A theatre play about Pakistan, revolving around the theme of August 14 which sports characters like Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Dr Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Maulana Shaukat Ali Johar does not sound like your average musical advocating freedom of sexual orientation – and thus, it perhaps does not warrant the same media attention.

Even I would not have attended it had it not been for a violent strike that paralysed the city and left me looking for some aesthetic relief. To my surprise, I was told that the play is not only running but pulling packed audiences. I was lucky that I got the pass, which only happened because the turnout was slightly lower due to the strike.

Successful play: check

Stellar playwright: check

Convenient location: check

Standing ovations: check

But where are the rave reviews?

Why is there such a media silence in what is probably one of the best plays that has been on offer in the past four to five years?

Nothing that I have seen in this time was more relevant, intelligently written, passionately performed and hysterically applauded by the audience. I know one man who walked up to Mr Anwar Maqsood after the play and told him that never in his life had he cried while simultaneously laughing aloud!

Such is the magic that Anwar Maqsood can weave with his pen, which switches effortlessly between literary, political, show-biz oriented and at times even cheesy jokes. The pen knows no bound and with an equally effortless stride switches between satire, political commentary and thought-provoking lines.

In one particular dialogue, the Quaid-e-Azam counts the resources and beauty of Pakistan and Allama Iqbal interjects by asking if the Quaid was listing Pakistan’s blessings or reciting Surah-e-Rehman which talks about the bounties bestowed upon mankind by the Almighty.

The Quaid, with moisture in his eyes, replies that
 Pakistan was indeed Surah Rehman itself!

There were many glistening eyes that watched the play, wept and laughed out loud. The law and order situation prevalent in the city on the day was very relevant to the overall mood of the play and put it in the right perspective.

The play is presented by KopyKats Productions and has been directed by the young talent Dawar Mahmood, who was assisted by Sher Ali Minallah. The play, which on the surface is hilarious, has deeper layers and discusses some of the most painful events in the history of this country.

Absence of media coverage and reviews in the popular press is not just disheartening but utterly confusing.

Read more by Adil here.


Adil Mulki The author is a Finance and Audit professional presently working for a bank. In his free time he enjoys travelling to remote areas in Pakistan, outdoor activities such as camping, trekking, hiking, fishing, boating and riding etc.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


akka | 12 years ago | Reply @Hareem farooq: bro, just cause I didn't like your opportunism, doesn't mean I 'missed the concept' of playing the national anthem. To go on, its rubbish to say that an actor's looks are not part of why he is picked. I mean your 'Bengali' actor would NOT have been picked to play Jinnah, would he? As far as 'Bengalis being known for having a darker complexion' is concerned, there's a word for creating a caricature based on racial characterization. Its known as 'blackface'. Look it up. I know a lot of Bengalis and none of them are wearing (&^& lungis and inviting girls to join them for 'mosli chawal'. If you think Bengalis are so distinctive, why not pick a Bengali to play that character? There's no shortage of them in Karachi.
Tahira | 12 years ago | Reply I just came back from the play and Im still so mesmerized by it! The acting was beyond brilliant, the dialogues were so smartly written that they make one laugh , cry and think about the present day situation. I thank the entire team of Pawnay 14 August for making such a brilliant play and hope more such exemplary plays grace the stage soon.
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