KARACHI: Wednesday night saw Karachi Arts Council play host Hua Kuch Youn – Dawar Mehmood’s latest play which is being staged up until March 15. Considering that Dawar has directed successful plays such as Siachen, Pawnay 14 August and Aangan Terah previously, Hua Kuch Youn was sure to attract huge crowd in Karachi, after Lahore, Multan and Peshawar.
Written by Sajid Hassan, Hua Kuch Youn was being billed as the pre-Partition love story of Quratul Ain and Raja. As in most Partition dramas, the two protagonists are forced to go their separate ways and what we – the audience – were left with was a failed version Veer Zara.
To kick things off, the crowd control (or lack thereof) at the Arts Council was a huge disappointment. Many of the visitors were slammed in their faces with closed doors. Some elderly viewers eventually left the venue when they weren’t allowed inside, despite bearing passes. Others managed to squeeze inside only when the doors were opened for Oscar-winning film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
And if getting inside wasn’t problematic enough already, staying there was even harder. Many had no choice but to sit on the staircase of the floor. Considering Hua Kuch Youn is about two hours long, you might find yourself rushing to the hospital for a hip replacement after.
The idea of having some of the characters emerge from the audience was like flicking the first domino in a series of problems that followed. One poor soldier had to fire a gun at someone on stage, while standing next to my feet! The sounds used for the gun shots were deafening. Either that or some of the characters just weren’t loud enough.
The performances by some were par excellence. The actor playing Raja, who earlier starred in Anwar Maqsood’s Siachen, was one of the best performers of Hua Kuch Youn. The female lead playing Quratul Ain was very expressive in her dialogue delivery – sometimes a little too much. The rest of the cast, especially the actors playing characters such as Khushwant Singh, Venkant and the police officer Dhulphuli, did a splendid job at stealing the show.
The sets were beautiful but translated into very long intervals in between scene changes. Also, the sound of a clock ticking to signal the passing of years was rather annoying as well. The use of “hua kuch youn” – just because it was the name of the play – was brutally exploited in its narration.
Most importantly, the very love story between Raja and Quratul Ain was unexplainable and not in a good way. The events in the storyline didn’t quite help their case either. The play was more focused on the political tension within the Subcontinent rather than the romance, thereby creating an imbalance of emotion.
While Hua Kuch Youn wanted to send a message of love across with a little bit of humour but sadly failed to do so. Many walked out of the auditorium because of the confusing plot. However, the biggest tragedy was that the audience could not connect to the tragedy at all. And contrary to popular belief, no tears were shed during show.
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