A review on Pakistani Comic theatre play, ‘Haye Muhabbat’ (2019). This was the first play performed at NAPA’s 2nd Laughter Theatre Festival 2019.
- Production Design & Directed by Uzma Sabeen
- Written by Babar Jamal
- Lighting by Masood-ur-Rehman
- Sound Design by Ashraf Bhatti
Haye Muhabbat is yet another collaborated play by Uzma Sabeen’s and Babar Jamal’s team work. This dynamic duo has previously conducted hit plays, such as ‘Aasman Se Gira’ and ‘Mere Samne Wali Kherki Mein’.
Other than this play, at this Laughter Festival, the recent explosive growth of stand-up comedy in Karachi is acknowledged in three performances as well as delightful performance of some comic Dastangoi.
+ Full Cast:
1) Samhan Ghazi as Kashi
2) Naz as Neelofar
3) Shumaila Taj as Amma / Billo Baji
4) Hammad Khan as Naukar / Mamo
Kashi, a bachelor in his early forties still hopes that he will find the love of his life. He gives himself a last chance of romance by dialing a random call and finds Neelofar, a woman in her late thirties who is also looking for her prince charming.
+ High Points
i – Another wonderful performance by Naz as Neelofar. She always brings more fun into a comic play with her usual roles of loud mouth, nagging characters that she often plays. I really enjoy watching her perform.
ii – I am very pleased to see Samhan Ghazi taking up much better and interesting roles to play. Here he plays a main lead character as Kashi who at first looks forward in meeting his new love interest but quickly realizes that she isn’t what she appears to be.
iii – The comic punch lines were hilarious especially during the telephonic conversations between the two lead characters.
iv – I loved how the production direction was handled. All three locations were skillfully designed and had enough space for the performers to move around easily.
v – Thank you to give heed to the advises given in other previous plays by omitting the ‘Type casted’ roles that the performers often play such as Naz is usually given roles of mother or aunt to play while bringing Samhan in front of the limelight instead of Hammad (another good actor), who played two minor supporting roles.
vi – Uzma Sabeen’s another round of great direction for a comic play bought a good start to this festival. The Laughter Festival of any year would remain incomplete without her directorial plays.
+ Low Points
i – Oh dear, dear… what happened here? A story of 30 – 40 minutes was extended till 75 – 80 minutes play! Can you imagine? What would happen if you do that? ‘If’ you are lengthening the play then you should have a very good reasoning, explanation behind it – because if you don’t, then I am afraid, this is what happens. The play eventually became a ‘Drag’! I am sorry to say but it was. Although, I am a fan of Babar Jamal’s plays… I like his work, but here I am very… disappointed. This is not something, I had expected from a good writer as Babar Jamal.
‘Haye Muhabbat’ started off really well but almost near one hour, I started to lose interest and wanted the play to end quickly. Having good jokes and performances is not everything for a play. The main ingredient for its success is its writing. A good written script does 50% job for any play. Then the rest of the things come later.
ii – Then we have a ‘Stereo Type’ character… where you avoided a type-casted role, but in its stead, it seems that it was essential for you to have a stereo-type character as well such as having a dumb ‘Pathan’ in a comic play. The elements that should be avoided at all cost in a comic play are stereo type characters, homosexuality, mimicry, vulgarity (unless the main content of the play is mocking at someone intentionally) and making funny faces to make us ‘Realize’ that it is a comic play. If you use any of these forbidden elements in a comic play, it is a clear violation of creative writing. You are not a creative writer or should be labeled as a lazy writer with the inclusion of any of these elements. It is a strong advice for all to avoid such practices from near future onward.
iii – The character Kashi was so naïve that he quickly believed that Neelofar have evil spirits within her, although knowingly very well that she is a mental patient of last 10 years or so and has witnessed himself to the level of selfishness, greedy schemes she has of being a ‘Gold Digger’.
iv – Was it vital to have an unnecessary happy ending? Highly unconvincing, I must say! Sudden change of character and interest for a ‘Mad’ woman was shocking! I would rather say, unable to digest it because of lack of good reasoning. What happened? Is this a result of quickly written play to meet the deadline of getting it approved?
v – There were some minor issues in lighting department. The lights were dimmed and raised while the performer was still giving his/her line or the scene was ended.
Though exciting at first, Uzma Sabeen’s vehicle Haye Muhabbat is also bland and oppressively syrupy.
Rate: 2.50 out of 5 stars