Bombay Dreams realised in Karachi
By Fahhd Husain
Karachi: What started off as an unwanted game of musical chairs turned out to be a thrilling experience for each and every one of the audience who thronged the Arts Council in their hundreds on Thursday to witness Centre Stage Productions’ rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Bombay Dreams’.
Most of the audience were keen to see the performance and arrived right on time. However, there was a massive shortage of seating space in the packed auditorium of the Karachi Arts Council and a number of the people were left standing. In an effort to accommodate those members of the audience left without seats, the organisers requested the ‘younger’ members of the audience to vacate their seats to allow the elderly and families to take their place. The entire process delayed the start of the performance by about half an hour. But once it began, the audience could immediately tell they were in for a treat.
Bombay Dreams opened with a powerful music composed by none other than legendary AR Rehman. The audio arrangements were excellent and the sound quality was good enough to do justice to the incredible music of the play. Bombay Dreams was designed to entertain, which it did rather comprehensively. As soon as the curtains were raised, the enthralled audience felt like they were face to face with a high-budget Bollywood production.
The story of the play revolves around Akash, who lives in the slums of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and dreams of becoming a big movie star, like many others in his neighbourhood. Not only is the apple of his mother’s eye, but also the sweetheart of one of the nicest looking girls in his area.
But they are not his only fans. Akash also manages to draw the attention of three eunuchs who live in Mumbai slums. With the exception of his mother, all those who surround the aspiring Bollywood hero believe that one day he will fulfill his dreams of fame and fortune.
Then one day, Akash has a chance encounter with Priya, the daughter of one of Bollywood’s biggest producers and her rather snooty boyfriend, a lawyer named Vikram. Then in typical Bollywood fashion, music starts playing from absolutely nowhere and thus begins Akash’s initial audition as he and his band of followers (mother, girlfriend, best friend and last but by no means least, the three eunuchs) set the stage alight with their dance to another AR Rehman masterpiece. Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the play was when the transvestites ventured into the audience and one of them performed a dance while perched on the railing of a staircase.
Overall, the performance was a delight for the audience as the majority of them laughed heartily at the witty jokes and would often burst into cheers during the dance performances. The sets were designed in great detail by Tanveer Abbas and the lighting complimented the backdrops perfectly. In addition to this, the choreography by Brekhna Yousuf, Zameena Yousaf and Wahab Shah was breathtaking. The dances kept the audience glued to their seats as the actors moved effortlessly, creating a real Bollywood atmosphere.
But what made this musical a masterpiece was the performance of the actors, coupled with the brilliant direction of Shah Sharabeel. The acting was superb as each and every figure in the musical was well characterised. Watching this musical, the audience could tell all those involved spent countless hours rehearsing for the big event itself. Gohar Rasheed was terrific in the role of Akash, the aspiring Bollywood hero. However, the performance that took the cake was without doubt that of Saquib Sumeer, who played the leader of the eunuchs. At Rs1,000 per person, the prices of the tickets may seem a bit steep, but at the end of the play, the audience was convinced they got their money’s worth.
Source: The News