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The travails of being a woman

By Samina W. Perozani
Karachi: “What should Anji do,” asked Khalid Ahmad of the audience in attendance, as the Urdu play titled ‘Angi’ drew to a close. Held at the Arts Council on Saturday as part of the theatre festival, Tlism, Angi was the first in the series of plays being staged by the Tehrik-e-Niswan here.
Based on Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi play and adapted and directed by Khalid Ahmad, Angi is a witty but tragic tale of the play’s central character Arjuman Ara aka Angi (played by Sheema Kermani) and her search for a suitable boy. Well past the marriageable age — she is dangerously bordering on the big “3-0”, Angi becomes increasingly desperate and scouts the cities close to Karachi, hoping to find her Prince Charming.
It is on the way back from one such trip, that she meets the smooth-talking, shady Samiullah-Sammy-Siddiqui (Rashid Sami), who engages in a flirtation with Angi. She reciprocates and impulsively hands him her contact details. What follows then is the dilemma of most women in the country — falling in love and being the subject of juicy drawing room discussions or holding back and preserving their ‘virtue’.
Sheema Kermani’s representation of the working woman who is unsure whether to cherish her independence or live up to her traditional upbringing (and thus, get married) was played to perfection. The circumstances that lead Angi to make one life-altering decision, her struggle with the demon that is middle-class morality and the harassment she faces at work and otherwise were all aspects that one could relate to at some level.
Also worth mentioning is the performance by Akbar Subhani (who played Dadda, Angi’s father) whose comic timing throughout the play was spot-on and thoroughly entertaining. Similarly, Rashid Sami played the unscrupulous character of Sammy Siddiqui to the hilt while Khalid Ahmad as the Ravi (narrator) was brilliant to say the least.
The only thing that slightly pulled the evening down was the waiting game — the play started almost an hour later than the stipulated time (8.00 p.m.), leaving many members of the audience irritated. One hopes that this will change as the festival progresses.
Tlism, the theater festival, is being held at the Arts Council to celebrate 30 years of Tehrik-e-Niswan. The festival will continue till March 29.
Source: The News

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