We have been so engrossed with the revival of the cinema in Pakistan that theater has been ignored for way too long, so much so that people actually give you judgmental stares if they come to know your go watch theater plays. Even though slowly but finally we are working on this medium of entertainment as well and to be honest I am hooked to live theater more than the movies. Among the few I have been, the latest is Jhanjhar Di Pawan Chankar and today we talk about that.
Janjhar Di Pawan Chankar takes its name from the famous Pujanbi song revolves around a blind young man who finally decides to live away from his over protective mother and gets to know his neighbor who is an aspiring actor and has taken up an unusual role in a movie. During the 80 minutes play, there is an interesting development between the two and the unfolding of the reason why he wants to stay away from his mother.
Sarmad Khoosat as Zaman,the aspiring actor and Samiya Mumtaz as the finicky over protective mother are beyond words. Sarmad has always been a perfectionist and this time was no different; the timing, the spontaneity, the change of expressions and that dance performance (spoiler alert), there is no one point you would feel he isn’t what he is portraying. From being an outspoken, outgoing, full of life neighbor, to an avid Anjuman fan, to a mature caring adult, he transitions among the many facets of Zaman with such smoothness that you are left in awe of it. Samiya Mumtaz is a lady of poise and grace and absolutely brilliant as the overbearing Mrs.Sohail. Zain Afzal as Hamza, is a new name to the theater but you would never, for a moment, feel like he wasn’t meant to be here. He is like the center of whole play with everything revolving around him and he perfectly makes it happen without overshadowing anyone. His presence is felt throughout the play whether he is in the scene or not.
The play highlights the less talked about taboos of the society that make people believe that only a certain behavior or choice of career is deemed respectable and enough to stand in society. It touches the subject of how we as a society react to people with disabilities be it physical or emotional and treat them as outcasts. This discrimination starts from our own homes and by the hands of our own families in the name of being protective which ultimately leads to self pity and self loathing. The play touches on various social behaviors towards individuals who are differently abled rather than labeling them as impaired. The whole idea and then execution of the whole concept staged with strong narratives and witty humor with a touch of sarcasm is brilliant. There are times when the script becomes a little too preachy and you can feel that it might get dragged but I can guarantee it doesn’t last long for more than a minute and trust me when I say this because I am a very impatient person.
I am absolutely delighted that I got to see something as brilliant and well thought out as Janjhar Di Pawan Chankar . It truly depicts that how strong medium can theater be to put across messages like these. You can deny the impact of cinema given the number of takes it gets to take a perfect shot and then the edits it goes through.But there is no negation of the impact of the raw emotions that a theater play has, more like one human to another which you cannot ignore in anyway. An absolute eye-opener and mind boggling play that is going to make you uncomfortable enough to shift in your seats but engrossed to the point that you won’t dare shift your gaze from the stage. Definitely highly recommended to have it on your bucket list this weekend!