Convincing my family to go watch Angan Terha on stage was an ordeal. None of them thought it was worth it to spend so much on a play which was bound to be (in their opinion) a disappointment. They were justified to an extent; they demanded the brilliance of the original Aangan Terha television serial which of course, could not be replicated on stage. It took a lot of coaxing and discussions to convince my brother and mother to go and watch the play with me. A play like Aangan Terha can only be enjoyed with family, in my opinion.
I won’t waste any more time in describing how crowded and full of excitement the theatre was. The play started with Akbar (taking advantage of the fact that no one was around) practising his dance steps and then interrupted by a stern Jahan Ara, who enters the room unannounced. Jahan Ara, being a typical, conservative woman, has severe reservations when it comes to Akbar’s true nature. However, all she can do is frown and reel with discomfort when her attempts to make him behave ‘normally’, go in vain. The exchange of dialogues between Jahan Ara and Akbar made the audience roar with laughter.
The best feature of the play was that most of the sarcastic jokes and criticism on our government were the same as those in the original drama as most of them are still relevant. An example is the discussion between Akbar and Jahan Ara over the export of potatoes, when she wonders how exporting best quality potatoes benefit the masses.
‘Ye pichle hafte bhi koi mujh se keh raha tha. Ye aaloo export kar k hamain kia faida?’
To which Akbar, in his classic style, replies:
‘Bohat faida hai! Aaloo export kar k ham chips import karte hain.’
The constant bickering between Jahan Ara and Mehboob Ahmed was also interesting and hilarious. However, and this might just be my observation, Mehboob Ahmed’s character in the theatre play did not seem as strong as it was in the serial. The chemistry between him and Akbar was also missing, or so I felt. Aangan Terha, the original play, portrayed an interesting relationship between the two; Akbar was not just a servant but a secret keeper as well.
Chaudhry sahib had a strong presence, as he was in almost every scene and made the most of his time on stage. The best part was when he brings along a cock, just so that he can have ‘murgh pulao’ at Mehboob Ahmed’s place. Surprisingly, I found myself wishing there was more of Sultana as she was one of my least favourite characters. Yet, every time I saw Chaudhry sahib, I wished he’d bring his sister along. The few scenes she appeared in were well executed.
All in all the play was great. The actors are amazing, their hard work was eveident and they deserve all the praise they are getting. Akbar, the character I was most eager to see, won everyone’s hearts. His performance can be counted as a genuine tribute to the late Saleem Nasir. Loved his acting. Jahan Ara’s mother, though, wasn’t too impressive. For some reason, I couldn’t relate her to the ‘ama jan’ in the series. Her best scene was when she laid down on the takhat under which Chaudhry sahib was hiding. I couldn’t stop laughing, no one could. Akbar made the situation funnier by exclaiming, ‘bohat hi vulgar script tha!’
Wishing the team all the best for their upcoming shows as well as for the projects they’ll work on after Aangan Terha.