Does Anwar Maqsood’s Kyun Nikala live up to the hype? | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Does Anwar Maqsood’s Kyun Nikala live up to the hype?

Pakistan Press Foundation

Premiered in Karachi on the eve of Independence Day, Anwar Maqsood and Dawar Mehmood’s latest collaboration, Kyun Nikala takes one on a political ride. Set in a period closer to general elections 2018, that declare Imran Khan as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, the play presents a rather dirty picture of politicians operating in the system. However, when it comes to wit and originality, Kyun Nikala comes across as a lackluster effort; it has a script riddled with loopholes and above-average performances.

A signature Anwar Maqsood style production, Kyun Nikala has a political backdrop with its story set in January 2018 at the house of a former Punjab Minister, Chaudhry, essayed by veteran TV and theatre actor Sajid Hasan. A Bengali chef, Mujeeb Bengali, essayed by Mohsin Ejaz, is employed at his home for many years and is more of his right hand. These two brilliantly carry the play on their shoulders and, rightly so, received standing ovation from a packed audience at the media night.

As the story moves forward, representatives of parties competing in the elections offer huge sums of money to Chaudhry to win over his alliance. Those whose future apparently looked bright, such as PTI, and those who ‘thought’ their chances to win are high, such as PPP, attempt to convince him of their party ticket. Chaudhry entertains all of them as they reach out to him but doesn’t give a nod to anyone until eventually he lands in some serious trouble once the results are announced. What happens next, viewers in Karachi can go and watch as the dates have been extended and the play is running at the Karachi Arts Council till September 30 before heading to Lahore and Islamabad.

Kyun Nikala is a 90-minute long play, which has the elements of a hit, given the nation’s love for country’s politics. One can bet on that considering the amount of praise and appreciation the play received in the form of constant laughs and standing ovation at the end. However, the script lacked originality and on-point humour that one witnessed in Anwar Maqsood’s previous plays like Siachen and Dharna.

Kyun Nikala was rather a combination of jokes/memes that circulate on social media, witty one-liners that we come across in talk shows and references to Pakistan’s current political scenario. Also, those who aren’t very politically tuned may fail to understand what’s going on and this was visible in some blank faces in the audience.

The best part of the show, Sajid Hasan and Mohsin Ejaz, who essay the two most prominent characters, won hearts with their effortless delivery, as mentioned above. Sajid Hasan didn’t slow down for even a moment and maintained momentum till the very end. Not to forget, the play has been performed four times a day on many of the days due to its huge demand and Hasan’s stamina was commendable. Mohsin Ejaz is the major highlight of the play and makes up for most of Kyun Nikala’s shortcomings. Other notable performances include that of Tanveer Gill as PPP representative Sardar Sahab, Nazar Hussain as Nadra Khawaja Sera and NAB Officer, Sarah Saifi as Modi, who essayed the role of Chaudhry’s first wife and Raza Zaidi as Lasani Wakeel and NAB Officer. Those who failed to make an impact while on stage include Maha Hasan as Rehana (Chaudhry’s second wife) and, Rabbiya Shakil and Khadija Hashim as PTI representatives Nasreen Sadiq and Shaista Ahmed, respectively.

People who attended the play’s media night may find some changes between that version and the version running now. Anwar Maqsood, at the media night, had hinted that some changes had been made in his script without his permission. Instep got in touch with the writer to inquire what went wrong.

“There were some last-minute changes and a few new actors joined the cast who changed some of the dialogues,” Anwar Maqsood shared in a telephonic conversation. He also informed that his original script is back in shape and audiences are loving it, due to which they have been performing four shows in a day.

– Kyun Nikala is running at the Karachi Arts Council till September 30 before heading to Lahore and Islamabad.

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