Mulzim ya Mujrim: Play that presents a true picture of Pakistan

KARACHI  : Despite its faults, what makes the play shine is its ability to let the script do its job

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The courtroom drama 12 Angry Men written by Reginald Rose, which was adapted in the Sidney Lumet’s 1957 classic of the same name, is such a timeless script that it can be molded to depict any society. Stage Nomad’s third production Mulzim ya Mujrim, Wusatullah Khan’s adaptation of the play in Urdu, directed by Syed Meesam Naqvi, is being staged at Karachi Arts Council until July 30.

Starring an ensemble cast of Kulsoom Fatmi, Syed Shah Hasan, Ali Haider, Yogeshwar Karera, Mujtaba Rizvi, Ibrahim Shah, Rao Jamal, Muneeb Beyg, Maha Rehman, Faraz Ali, Malik Jibran Tariq, Osman Muhammad Sheikh and Syed Bukhari, the play revolves around 12 jurors who carry in their hands the fate of a young slumdog accused of murdering his father.

The play comes in a long line of adaptations of 12 Angry Men. Previously, Sunil Shankar presented the Reginald Rose-magnum opus in the most intense fashion, during a theatre festival last year. Naqvi’s (who was part of the cast in Shankar’s version) adaptation does not compare to that. It lacks that swear-to-heavens honesty and flawless timing that Shankar’s cast had. However, it’d probably be unfair to compare the two as despite the differences, Mulzim ya Mujrim manages to entertain the audience with its wackiness. The director even managed to sneak in a couple of gags at the expense of Syed Noor’s upcoming film Chain Aye Na and Shahroz Sabzwari.

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Among the large cast, special should be given to Karera, who played one of the important jurors, and without whom, the entire show would’ve become a mess. Let’s just say, judging solely on the basis of this one performance, he proves to be one of the finest actors in Karachi’s theatre scene. It’s ironic, though, that the audience focused more on gags (of which there were more than plenty) and less on the drama unfolding in front of them. Thus, it wasn’t a surprise when Ali’s performance was applauded more. Despite his great characterisation and appearance and all the tools he possessed to hit the ball out of the stadium, he overdid it because the ball returned after a rotation and hit him on the neck. Just a notch down, and he was right up there with Karera.

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Despite its faults, what makes Mulzim ya Mujrim a mulzim is its ability to let the script do its job. Khan’s adaptation localises the play to not only present an intense, engaging drama but also shed light upon the unacceptable elements that subtly imbue our society. We’re quite familiar with catcalling women, bullying the weak, ostracisation on the basis of area, social status and even language, on a daily basis. Mulzim ya Mujrim incorporates all of these themes to subconsciously make us question the things that we have internalised as societal norms. But the play shows us, it can all be changed when we start taking responsibility of our immediate surroundings.

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In all, the theatre play was entertaining except one only wishes there was less humour and an overall stronger cast.

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The post Mulzim ya Mujrim: Play that presents a true picture of Pakistan appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Mulzim ya Mujrim: Play that presents a true picture of Pakistan

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