Lovengers… An Original Live Musical

 

They say, “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy”.  When the play is “Lovengers”, count on life sprouting out of every moment.

Lovengers, an original live musical, directed by Usama Qazi, is indeed an experience extraordinaire.  Amidst the turmoil and the happenings taking a toll on ones nerves, Lovengers provided the much needed break from it all as it took the audience on a comical journey of live bollywood music mainly from the 60s and 70s.

A rendition of “Mun Kunto Maula”, by Abbas Ali Khan was played prior to start, which sent quite a lot of heads moving and shaking in all directions as the audience gets lost in the words of the epic poetry.

 

The play is perfectly set in a hospital rented to shoot a film funded by one of the biggest Dons of the underworld. “Cyrus”, the Director of Lovengers, is played by Mohsin Ejaz.  A character so very well pulled off that it was surprising to know at a later stage that he is actually not a Parsi.  As generally known, there is always an individual in such situations ready to take the brunt for and is responsible for anything and everything.  In the play, this character is “Joji”, ever so amazingly played by Omi Butt.  His expression, dialogue delivery, flamboyance is exemplary.

The play reflects on various challenges faced by Cyrus in completion of the shoot.  The actors not showing up on time, the arrangement of new faces for characters, the timing, all of which is what gives the perfect comical touch.  “Bangali Baba”, a patient who takes on the role of Romeo at a later stage, is played by Saqib Sameer.  Writing anything here about his performance would be an uphill task as no words can match his performance.  His spontaneity is remarkable.  He involved the audience and adapted to every single move made by an onlooker, as if it is a part of the original script.

Zarnab Rashid, the original “Romeo” plays his role brilliantly with the most perfect attitude.  Fully aware of his heroic capabilities, he totally ignores the love and compassion of “Heer” beautifully played by Sundus Tariq.  As fate would have it, Romeo ends up being quite a looser.  The audience actually screams “Looser” and an air of hatred can be felt in the hall, which only reflects on his acting brilliance.

If better wasn’t known, it would have been sworn that “Peter”, the cameraman, played by Huraira Ansari was actually drunk.  What perfection indeed! He added the perfect spice to the already hilariously happening ambiance.

Without getting into too much detail about the play itself, as it would be ruining it for those who haven’t watched it yet, it is certain that the entire team deserves a salute for bringing us such wonderful comedy, a much needed break at times like the ones we are living through.  At the beginning of the play, Usama humbly states that the play has a few established actors while majority are new.  Well, all throughout, the audience was wondering which actors are the seasoned ones and which of those are new.  The live singing, the live band, took the audience out of this world and away from it all.

Yazzi Nishazi, playing “Samandar Khan” indeed deserves a special mention for his astounding performance as he acted upon dialogues delivered by the Doc.  A most special mention, which added to the play was Samandar Khan’s “jewels” hanging perfectly below where the kurta ended! The ever ornate “narha” was quite the prime of the show!  Ahmed Angloria playing “Makku” in the play, what a brilliant throw of voice and amazing delivery and not to forget “Saeen Buxsho” played by Aadi Adeal Amjad, perfectly depicting the state of our politicians and what an amazing rendition of “Saeen to Saeen”.

Cheers to Jawad Qureshi (Chandu), Zarmeena Yusuf (Julie), Maleaha Nansey (Nurse Leena), Usman Mazhar (Doctor), Zubair Tariq (Inspector), Natalia Gul Jilani (Nurse Sandy), Abdul Ahad Khan (Ranjha), Ajnabi (Don), Imad Khan (Rocky), Arif Changezi (Tony), Hunain Maniar (Akku), Kaizer Irani (Aspirin), Breakhna Yusuf (Juliet) and all the dancers and choreographers.  Indeed each part was utter perfection which made the whole ostentatious.

To sum it all up, thank you for a wonderful evening and We look forward to many more such productions.

Cheers!

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A Life… Once was!

Close your eyes… And go back in time… Before the Internet, VCD and DVD. Before semi-automatics machine guns, joy-riders and crack… Before Playstations or Nintendos or XBox’s… Way back…. I’m talking about Hide and seek (Chhupan Chhupaee) in the park or on the streets. The corner shop, Butter Scotch Candy, Mitchells Milk Toffee, Jubilee, football with an old can, hockey, cricket and Pittu with the same ball. jumping in enormous puddles, Building dams. The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass. Mayfair bubble gum. A POLKA ice cream pop cone on a warm summer night, Wait……Watching Weekday 5pm evening or Saturday Morning cartoons… short commercials, The Tom and Jerry, He-Man, Captain Caveman, Waltron, Walligator, Danger Mouse and Pink Panther. Staying up late for Night Rider, Air Wolf or Power of Methew Star. Watching nice Urdu Plays like Un Kahi, Tanhaiyaan, Sunehray Din, Aangan Tera.

Walking to school, no matter what the weather. Running till you were out of breath. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights. Climbing trees, having gola ganda stealing unripe mangoes (Karrie) from the neighbour’s tree . Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for the giggles. Being tired from playing… Remember that? The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.

I’m not finished just yet… Eating raw jelly, orange squash, ice pops.

Remember when… You knew everyone in your street – and so did your parents! It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best” friends. You didn’t sleep a wink on EiD Chaand Raat. When 100 Rs. was decent pocket money. When you’d get a coke for 4 Rs. When nearly everyone’s mum was at home when the kids got there from School. It was magic when dad would “remove” his thumb. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner! At a real restaurant with your parents. We were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! And some of us are still afraid of them!!!

Didn’t that feel good? Just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that!

Remember when…. Decisions were made by going “eeny- meeny-miney-mo.” “Race issue” meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in “Monopoly”. The worst thing you could catch from other person was germs, and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to opposite sex. Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a catapult. Nobody was prettier than your Mom. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable aspirin. Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Getting a foot of snow ! was a dream come true.

Abilities were discovered because of a “double-dare”. Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.

If you can remember most of these, then you have LIVED!!! =)