Aangan Terrha: Lessons, nostalgia for the young and old

Published: February 12, 2013
Young actors bring back memorable performances to enthrall the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Young actors bring back memorable performances to enthrall the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Young actors bring back memorable performances to enthrall the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
Young actors bring back memorable performances to enthrall the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
Young actors bring back memorable performances to enthrall the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
Young actors bring back memorable performances to enthrall the audience. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Anyone would think twice before daring to replicate the unbeatable performances in ‘80s satirical-comedy drama Aangan Terrha. The brilliance in dialogues both written and delivered is still treasured by those who have watched it. Touching a script like that, especially for a stage performance, is a daunting task which could have resulted in a disappointment of gargantuan proportions. But director Dawar Mehmood and his team took up the challenge and succeeded.

Under the auspices of the legendary writer Anwar Maqsood, who is also the playwright for the original drama, young and passionate actors brought new life to the characters of a drama that is a part of our national archive. Yasir Hussain as Akbar, Hareem Farooq as Jehan Ara, Khalifa Sajeeruddin as Chaudhary Sahab, Nurjis Jafri as Hamsheera/Sultana and Talal Jilani as Mehboob Ahmed in the main roles left no stone unturned in giving us fresh rendition of Aangan Terrha.

Late Salim Nasir’s unforgettable role of a servant and former classical dancer in the drama is played by Hussain, who feels the role was a part of him. After witnessing his performance, veteran actor Bushra Ansari, who was a part of the original cast, gave him her blessings by saying: “Tum to Akbar ko ghol kay pee gaye, bohat achay”. While Farooq played Jehan Ara Begum, who appeared a lot like a younger version of Ansari, Sajeeruddin played the energetic Chaudhary Sahab.

The play Aangan Terrha is a pleasant break from the thumkas and item numbers that have infested Karachi theatre, and incredible one-liners by the master of satire himself are worth the watch.

While the class and charisma of the original drama has been retained, a bit of reinvention was expected and also needed for stage which unfortunately was not seen. Perhaps the only flaw was the lack of a theatrical feel, since the director has chosen to replicate on stage exactly what was on TV. Similar to the transitions in a TV play, the lights and music faded in and out as a changeover of wardrobe and props were needed, which was uninteresting for the audience.

A few issues in the venue gave way to some murmurs within the crowd. The number of people invited on media night exceeded the available seats at the Arts Council. This resulted in organisers requesting some children to vacate their seats for adults. Despite the fact that children under 12 were not allowed, a few crying babies were admitted into the auditorium, which became a source of disturbance during the performance. It would have been better if the audience had followed the rules, or the organisers had stuck to theirs.

A ticket worth Rs1,500 is certainly steep for Aangan Terrha, which is a play that people from all income groups would like to watch. This also casts a shadow of doubt on whether or not Aangan Terrha will complete a running of a 100 shows. Theatre is an industry that needs money, but it’s unreasonable to expect all income groups to pay such a price. The organisers would have had more ‘house full’ nights had it been a Rs500 ticket.

Verdict: Do watch Aangan Terrha for Anwar Maqsood’s hilarious one-liners, the incredible resurrection of Salim Nasir’s character Akbar and a nugget of how Urdu was once written and spoken. For the oldies, the play will bring back fond memories; for young members of the audience, it is a valuable lesson in culture and literature.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2013.            

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Misbah
    Feb 13, 2013 - 12:20AM

    i had a chance to watch it just yesterday and i must say what a wonderful wonderful execution, brilliant performances and crisp script. regardless how loud my laughter was i wanted to laugh louder each time. Wonderful enough that i can watch it again and again. indeed loving Akbar’s performance.


  • Ahmed
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:08AM

    This Monday I got a chance to watch this amazing theatre play. I haven’t seen the original TV play but this one is marvelous. Akbar acting is the soul of the play and Ch sab appearance is complete the whole scene. I believe this type of plays r very important to promote new artist and revive old memories in a new way. Best wishes to writer, director, actors and all related people. Must watch theatre play. Full of comedy.




  • Human
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:21AM

    I watched this Play at the Arts Council it was AMAZINGGGGGGGGGG
    we just loved it enjoyed it from the start till the End .

    Thank you & please do have more plays like these we karachians need this Break


  • Heretic
    Feb 13, 2013 - 9:37AM

    Would love to watch it when visit Pakistan again. The TV serial was just hilarious…. the good old days of our TV and genuine artists!


  • Jude Allen
    Feb 13, 2013 - 1:56PM

    Agreed with the comments above. It was a GREAT play and we certainly needed the break from the current environment. Hope to see many more such plays being organized. Great work guys. Keep it up.


  • Huma
    Feb 13, 2013 - 4:52PM

    bring it to lahore!!!


  • Mar 5, 2013 - 2:24PM

    Please Stop Over Selling tickets, I went an Hour before Show time to get Good Aisle Seats for me and my Friends, and to our Surprise, the show was Over Sold and the Aisle next to us was cramped with People sitting on the steps. It was refreshing to see some gentlemen in the crowd finally speak up against this non sense of intentional mis management on part of Kopy Kat Productions.


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