Kolachi: Bringing out the stereotypes

Drawing room aunties, religious nuts, mental principals, paindoos, burgers, a certain donkey and the devil himself.


Express August 10, 2010

KARACHI: Defence drawing room aunties, religious nuts, mental principals, paindoos, burgers, a certain donkey and the devil himself - Mythos Production’s play “Kolachi” at  The Second Floor had all this and more.

“I’d like to call it an absurdist play” says Ahad Lakhani, nicknamed “Pakistani Palace of Pleasure” by his crew. All cast members have given each other fond names by which they refer to one another during rehearsals and even on their website.

He and Rouvan “Ek Haseena Thi” Mahmud directed and co-wrote this collection of eight skits which turn the everyday Karachi experience upside down and throws it right back at the audience.

Rouvan, 21 and currently attending Hamilton College, says, “We just extended the whole feeling and idea of living in Karachi and turned it into this play-stuff that we can all relate too.”

Fatima “Meri Sapnon Ki Biryani” Hasan loves her roles of cavewoman, a skanky waitress and a “typical Defence auntie”. The 20-year-old is in London School of Economics’ external programme.

According to her, there is a bit of ‘that auntie’ in every woman living in Pakistan.

“They live in a world of oblivion where it’s all about the latest Sana Safina’s jora, love affairs and who dated who,” she said.

Urooj Mughal’s role of Auntie Shagufta whose life revolves around her darzi (who repeatedly dies) also seemed to strike a chord with the audience.

Urooj also plays Mother Pakistan in one of the skits. “I’m that typical mother who loves to whine about the bijli, the food and who complains about her life constantly.”

Her counterpart is Father Pakistan played by Khurram “Santa Clause” Suleman, who constantly asks for money and aid.

Even the warm up for the play consisted of jumping around, yelling “zip zap zoop!” and someone singing “hit me baby one more time’.

The opening skit consists of the entire cast, all coming together around the mystical “Dadi” played by Summer Mahmud, 11. Another skit involves a girl and a boy trying to strike the perfect relationship. “It’s about stereotypes and what’s acceptable in our society and what’s not” says Mariam Virani about her Pakistani version of a girl next-door-role.

“I had to write and rewrite some portions of the play, sometimes removing regional comments,” says Ahad. “I hate the word upper class, but that’s who the play is targeting, it’s making fun of their perceptions of life.”

Owais Tariq, from the audience, found the play “inappropriate at moments” but another viewer, Ali Aasim said, “If you come here with an open mind, it is one of the funniest plays I’ve seen.”

The cast also consisted of Rafeh Mahmud, Usman Farooqui and Kenan Mir.

The play will go on till Friday.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2010.

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