A harmony of light, sound and movement resonated from the stage as a father bribes his son with a football to get him to leave, a mother hugs her son, a sister makes her brother promise to come back for her wedding and a wife packs the bags of her husband who is leaving for Siachen.
As the scene progresses, one can hear Anwar Maqsood’s voice representing the feelings of the loved ones of soldiers who are hoping for their safe return.
Unsung heroes : The human side of Siachen
Captured in a play titled ‘Siachen’, this is a story of the soldiers who are posted to Siachen for six months leaving their homes and families behind to protect the country. The play touches upon the sentiments of family members while highlighting the struggles of young soldiers torn between the love for their families and passion to protect the motherland.
The legendary Maqsood’s essence can be seen in every act of the play, where he blends in humour to a play set in the world’s highest battlefield.
While a few acts brought a tear to the eyes, the rest of the play left the audience splitting their sides with laughter. It is only this talent of Maqsood’s that can combine references as diverse and unrelated as Bahria Town’s projects in Siachen, metro bus, Pakistan-India cricketers, Army chief Raheel Sharif and the recent Bollywood movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
India conducts trials for indigenous combat helicopter at Siachen
Siachen also features a young BBC journalist who came to interview the soldiers and ended up becoming eye-candy for most of them, as they are delighted to see a girl in the activity-starved region.
Another hilarious addition to the play, apart from the soldiers, was the Bihari who came to the Siachen base and pretended to be a Pakistani.
While there were a few performances that could have been better, Sikandar as Shahid Afridi performed really well. Mohsin as the army subedar was convincing and Saad as Musa Khan entertained the audience to the core. Tanveer as Karim Khan too deserves a pat on the back for his performance.
In the spotlight: Warming up to ‘Siachen’
The set and special effects were exemplary, making the audience feel like they are sitting in a real battlefield. The only glitch, though, was that some of the dialogues were inaudible for the audience sitting at the end of the hall.
Anam Shoaib, who came to watch the play with her friends, told The Express Tribune that this is the best play she has watched in Islamabad in a very long time. “I loved it entirely; it touched a serious issue and yet made us laugh throughout and the fact that it was so perfectly edited without any drags,” she said.
Theatre: Anwar Maqsood to scale new heights with 'Siachen'
Everyone takes home something different and personal from the play, and therein lays the beauty of Siachen.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2015.
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