‘Saadhay 14 August’ premieres at PNCA

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Anwar Maqsood brings last chapter of his theatrical trilogy in Islamabad

Zubair Qureshi

Saadhay 14 August— the last part of the popular series of theatrical trilogy after making inroads in Karachi (100 successful shows)—has arrived in Islamabad to delight those who keep complaining Islamabad’s literary and cultural scene is dry, drab and almost dead.

The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) is the venue where you can watch this ‘seriously light’ play from Saturday (today) for the next thirty days. The play was staged last year on August 14 on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Independence of Pakistan. The Kopykats Production is written by popular satirist of our times, Anwar Maqsood who knows the art of handling serious issues in a lighter way and specializes in rib-tickling, one-liners. As the title suggests, it is about the chequered political history of Pakistan. It features an amateur photographer who is trying to capture Jinnah and Gandhi on a bench. To his annoyance, it becomes quite a feat trying to get the duo to cover the gap between them. The dialogue exchange between their followers nearby is a clever commentary on the differences that led to the Partition of British India. In the end, Maqsood walks in and takes the middle seat and says, “Saadhay Chauda August, chauda August” and the photographer takes the photo.

The theatrical trilogy was initiated eleven years ago starting with Pawnay 14 August and then Swa 14 August. According to well-known critic, poet, Peerzada Salman, “Perhaps [through Saadhay 14 August] Maqsood and his director Dawar Mehmood just wanted to give a good entertaining, full of fun, treat to their audiences, who are accustomed to the former’s guffaw-inducing one-liners.”

The play is directed by Dawar Mehmood, and is able to garner a good number of audiences from all walks of life, and individuals of all ages and genders. It drew packed houses from the first performance until the very last. Anwar Maqsood who arrived in Islamabad on Friday said, “This series is really close to my heart and was made while keeping something positive and considering the current plight of the nation. We expect that Saadhay 14 August will receive the same level of support in Islamabad as it has in Karachi.” According to Ahmed Shah, President Arts Council of Pakistan Anwar Maqsood has actually brought theatre back to Pakistan, and when it is his screenplay, we are sure it will be adored and admired by the public and would draw huge crowds to the theatre.” When questioned about his expectations for Islamabad, director Dawar Mehmood said: “Like Karachi, we hope to exceed the expectations of the crowd in Islamabad. The play has all the necessary ingredients for a successful theatrical presentation, including a superb script written by none other than Anwar Maqsood, outstanding acting, scenes and sets that were carefully built with attention to detail of each region being portrayed.”