ISLAMABAD, June 26: Mati ki Khushboo was a drag but often vibrant and intimate production. Guessing from a packed hall of the National Art Gallery Tuesday night, there seemed to be many pleasures in this engaging and thoughtful staging.
The hour-and-a-half play was directed by Ejaz Mir and it was a production of Vision Magic, a group of artists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that has been performing on stage for the last 16 years.
According to some in the audience from the moment the show opened, with its title character, a police constable played by television and stage actor Batin Farooqi saying his morning prayers until 40 minutes into running the drama did not achieve emotional focus.
But they did appreciate patriotic dialogues. The story reflected upon the impacts of terror on the people. It narrowed down to its impact on the men of armed forces, then to a police constable posted on a railway station and how he was ready to lay down his life fighting perpetrators of terrorism.
At the same time, he is fighting another battle with his unemployed son, performed by the director Ejaz Mir, who is mentally disturbed by the uncertain future of the country and the reign of terror engulfing the people.
It included other characters in search for heaven such as an intending Haji played by Sohail Asad and a young suicide bomber who was guaranteed heaven if he blew himself up. The suicide bomber kills himself, claims the life of the constable, and the Haji leaves for pilgrimage leaving it up to the audience as to who truly was granted a place in heaven. It was after his father’s death that the son gives up the idea of quitting his country, takes after his father and joins the police force to make his country a better place to live.
While spotlights added the dramatic touch, the stage set up was equally smart, depicting three different scenes – the living room of the police constable’s house, the railway station and a picnic spot, all solidly built environments.
The play was suspended between scenes of comedy and tragedy. While the characters tried to do a lot of busy little things but were unable to come up with a coherent overall characterisation.
The dramas would continue for three days. Stage actors from Balochistan would perform their production Badsha, Ghulam or Begum on Wednesday night.