‘Sab Golmaal Hai’ — twists, turns and chuckles all the way
It is said that opportunity does not knock twice. Comedian Milto Berle, however, once aptly quipped, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
The latter version of the saying, more or less, is what ‘Sab Golmaal Hai’ – a theatre play being staged at the Arts Council from May 13 onwards – is about. The presentation is a fund raiser helmed by Special Olympics Pakistan, produced by Sarwat Gilani and directed by Zeeshan Haider.
Written by Babar Jamal, the story does not delve into complexities and the plot is rather formulaic in nature; a story based on characters that keep reappearing at intervals.
The play follows the lives of a couple, Shumaila (Erum Bashir) and Abid (Ishtiaq-ur-Rasool). The couple has a humble household but things change soon when Abid’s office bag is accidentally exchanged on a bus ride and he reaches home with a bag with Rs50 million.
Shumaila’s reaction to the money is urging Abid to return it immediately, but he tries to coax her into keeping it by portraying it as God’s way of writing their rags to riches tale.
Meanwhile, Abid books a flight to Quetta and plans to reach Dubai via Afghanistan, and gets a taxi driver, Sarzameen (Noman Khan), to take them to the airport. However, his wife is persistent and refuses to budge an inch, affording time to an investigation officer, Inspector Rana (Saad Zameer Fareedi), to show up at their house.
Assuming that he has arrived because of the briefcase, Shumaila narrates the entire story to their family friends, Arsal (Ahmer Hussain) and his wife (Syeda Ferozan Mustafa). But it turns out that the inspector had only suspected Abid of unusual behaviour and would be willing to leave for a few lakhs instead.
In the meantime, another inspector (Farhan Alam) arrives with a similar suitcase and reveals that its ‘owner’ had been shot dead. By that fact, it would seem that Shumaila had been widowed as the bag originally belonged to her husband, Abid.
Thus begins a cover-up as Abdi makes up a story and assumes the identity of his own younger brother so that Shumaila can proceed to the morgue for identification of the body.
The couple then realises that since the money is clearly ill-gotten – a man had been killed for it – and the murderer, presumably a drug dealer, would now pursue them instead.
Trying to be civil, Arsal and his wife offer help and become a part of the fiasco. They all try to come up with absurd plans to escape the situation, till the drug dealer finally arrives demanding his share.
‘Sab Golmaal Hai’ is a humourous journey throughout, but the duration could have been shortened. With a few jabs at the political scenario of the country – like the name of the taxi driver who says he is also referred to as Pak Sarzameen or how those looking after NAP can be bought by money – the play is not meant to be preachy.
While the actors have done a commendable job, it would be great to see playwrights step away from stereotyping a particular ethnicity. All in all, the show is a fun watch with laughs all the way. It continues till May 21 and all would be well advised to drop in for the comedy of errors.