This annual theatre gala organized by National School of Drama (NSD) is a much sought after event by theatre enthusiasts. Notwithstanding the fight for tickets, we managed to catch two plays.
The play, directed by Salima Raza, is based on a bunch of letters that Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the revolutionary Pakistani poet and his wife Alys Faiz exchanged over a period of four years while he was in jail. In the course of the play, the protagonists read out their respective letters that they wrote to the other.
Dramatized reading of letters, as a mode of theatre, is a tested tradition. However, unless the script AND the narration are captivating, such productions run the risk of meandering into dullness. Tumhari Amrita rendered by Shabana Azmi and Farooq Sheikh has raised the bar high up there for this genre. Consequently, any production that uses this style, in addition to maintaining a standard of its own, also bears the additional onus of being compared with Tumhari Amrita.
Chand Roz Aur Meri Jaan suffers from a rambling script as well as insipid acting. Salima Raza, who reads the letters by Alys Faiz, had long soliloquies to deliver. Given her affected diction and uninteresting voice, her best efforts to impress the audience fell flat. Danish Iqbal as Faiz was far more impressive. He was restrained and convincing.
The songs were melodious and the stage, what with the enlarged Urdu scroll from the ceiling to the floor, looked smart. However, the remaining props, or the efforts to use these, were absolutely redundant.
Overall a mediocre production, the play may have added to the variety of the theatre festival.