Jhaanjar Di Paawaan Chankaar the Play

Janjhar Di Paawaan Chankaar  – a Sarmad Khoosat directorial is a play that revolves around three main well-defined characters.

Hamza – a blind young man from Sheikhupura having moved to Lahore away from the over-protectiveness of his mother that he so despises; his possessive mother – Mrs.Sohail who is hell-bent upon how her son must come back to the family house and stay with her as he is unable to take care of himself like she can; and the blind man’s flamboyant neighbor – Zaman, an aspiring actor playing a diehard fan of the yester years film star Anjuman in an unconventional movie in the making.

The title of the play symbolizes with the freedom Hamza seeks for his personal growth and self-reliance as well as the gender crossover Zaman embraces when Anjuman takes over his senses and he dances to his heart’s delight (ghungroo thor k, literally). The two neighbors also start sharing a special bond of love (far from brotherly) that Mrs. Sohail sees as a potential threat for her son to be left broken-hearted yet again as both son and mother throughout the play keeps bringing up a ‘Daniyal’ who Hamza once was very close to.

Sarmad Khoosat impeccably portrays every mood and facet of the intricate character Zaman and thoroughly entertains his audience just as much as he involves them in scene after scene. Samiya Mumtaz comes about as genuinely finicky and worrisome a mother and a human as her character called for. However, I feel some lines she said were stating the ever so obvious bits about Hamza that wasn’t required to be underlined all over again and thus was repetitive an information given out to the audience with whom all that was already established.  Zain Afzal aptly etched out the complexes of being a blind young man who struggles much less with his inability to see but more so with the unwelcomed sympathies and societal perceptions.

There came a point where the play went too dark and gloomy and may I dare say, stretched a little longer than required. But overall, it was decent theatre; especially for those of us who’re sensitive and mature enough to grasp the nuances of gay love as well as parental love which deep down may actually be not as selfless and may be a means of seeking power & control over what was theirs once and now is out of their clutches.