A review on Pakistani Comic theatre play, ‘Bijli, Pyar Aur Aba Jan’ (2016). Its English adaptation is done by Kulsoom Aftab.
- Written & Directed by Kulsoom Aftab
Originally Bijli, Pyar Aur Aba Jan is a Peter Shaffer’s play ‘Black Comedy’ whereas in Urdu it was adapted by Shoaib Hashmi. The play former title is a pun. Due to a short circuit, the stage is illuminated to reveal the characters in a “blackout”.
This review may contain SPOILERS!
- Muneeb Baig as Abbas
- Naz as Ambereen
- Mujtuba Rizvi as Khurdam
- Aamir Naqvi as Abul Hasan the Colonel
- Chand Bawani as Shakila
- Kulsoom Aftab as Nelo
- Zaman Abbasi as Fattu
- Sohail as Seith Sahab
Abbas is a young sculptor and his beautiful rich fiancée Ambereen have borrowed some expensive, antique furniture from his neighbor Khurdam’s flat without his permission in order to impress a millionaire art collector coming to view Abbas’s work and Ambereen’s father Colonel Abul Hasan. When the power fails, Khurdam returns early while Abbas’s ex-mistress Nelo shows up unexpectedly where things slide into disaster for him.
+ High Points
i – Naz is truly a remarkable actress. Any praises spoken on her acting skills would be less. She usually takes those roles which are difficult to perform and most often in supporting roles. In this play, however her character is of Ambereen, Abbas’s debutante fiancée and in a lead role.
ii – Khurdam played by Mujtuba Rizvi is very amusing and nicely performed. His role is actually well written to make him an interesting character to watch.
iii – Chand Bawani played a good supporting character with interesting punch lines. I liked her performance especially her staring in the darkness. Other Honorable Mentions: Aamir Naqvi.
iv – The set design was simple yet constructed in a different manner with upper room.
v – I find it a very interesting concept of this English play, ‘Black Comedy’. Something new to watch and enjoy.
+ Low Points
i – Even though Muneeb Baig’s performance as Abbas was above average, one could say it to be as ‘Good’. But he appeared desperate to make audience laugh by acting comedy. By trying to make audience laugh since one has a comic role, the efforts that you have pour in goes against you. Let the situation make the people laugh on their own.
ii – On several occasions when matches, lighters or torches are lit, the lights grow dimmer of the stage lights. This needed to be explained properly, to why during complete darkness the lights are brighter for the audience?
iii – There were times when the performers walked on stage with the illusion as that the stage is really fallen with pitch black darkness, that one cannot judge or see where exactly they are going or what obstacles would they be facing during their struggle. Yet in this same play, the performers walked very quickly and knew exactly where they need to be standing? Such as, Muneeb walks slowly with a drag by exiting the room but when returning back, he be walking very quickly and with ease… to where exactly he should be standing without stumble upon any object or a person.
iv – Similarly, Kulsoom first time makes an entry on stage as Nelo. She is an ex-lover of Abbas and most probably lived with him at same apartment so therefore she is aware how the room is decorated with furniture etc. And now she has returned after a long time where in the room there are already several other characters as well. So, it’s a wonder that how can one enter quietly and with ease the room although there is absence of light. Miraculously, Nelo comes and stands in between Abbas & Khurdam where her ex-boyfriend recognizes her by only touching her hair!
v – Nelo’s character was a lack of taste and was under developed.
vi – When Khurdam hears the news that of engagement, his upset is understandable and very amusing but the way his friend kept touching and hugging him to calm down, gave a double meaning altogether. Whether it was intentional or no? The play doesn’t clarify it.
vii – As for direction, it’s quite strange to see that when Nelo is throwing wine while standing upstairs, Abul Hasan is already ducking. The question is that if the room is in complete darkness, then how does he know from where the wine is thrown at and how much he needs to duck to save himself?
viii – For a person with an army background, Aamir Naqvi as Abdul Hasan the Colonel surely needs a similar makeover. Also, for Nelo’s open hair, the makeup & hair styling department should had done a better job in representing these stars on-stage.
ix – For a family-oriented play, many things were not adapted from the original play; which is quite disappointing in the long run.
Although, Bijli, Pyar Aur Aba Jan falls short of expectations… yet this play did however make many people entertain with some interesting performances.
Rate: 2.0 out of 5 stars