Omair Alavi|Published August 31, 2019
Photo courtesy: Kahanee Ghar
Kahanee Ghar’s Hatim Tai not only revived children’s theatre in Karachi, but also opened the door for others who want to entertain the future generations of the country.
Directed by Saqib Sumeer, who has also co-written the play with Unaizah Ali, the play revolves around the majestic character of Hatim Tai who fears no one when it comes to helping his fellow humans. Not only does the character interact with the kids in the audience, he also teaches them how to be a better human being through some riddles that are integral to the plot.
Hatim Tai revolves around the daily problems of people of Karachi who look to Inaya Pari (Sanober Siddiqui) for help. When the fairy finds out that IKL Jadugar (Ajnabi) is behind the problem, she calls upon Hatim Tai (Saqib Sumeer) to find a solution. Hatim and his daughter Jannat (also named Jannat in real-life) then visit mysterious places in search of answers that will get them to the crown that could solve the problems of the people of Karachi.
How does he manage to do that without the help of the internet, computers and even mobile phones is something we should all do — use our brains. He must also outwit the imprisoned Wizard’s henchmen Ballu (Hammad Khan) and Syed Jameel (Taklu) who are following him so they can get their hands on the crown and release their master.
So, what makes Hatim Tai so much interesting for the audience? For once, the actors who play the interesting characters look the part — Ajnabi as IKL Jadugar stands out, especially whenever he says his complete name loudly. Both Hammad Khan and Syed Jameel are irritatingly interesting as they fight amongst each other as well as with the kids in the audience.
Sanober Siddiqui, Jannat and the residents of the troubled Society are good, but Saqib Sumeer towers above all of them as the mighty Hatim Tai. Not only does he look like ‘the man from Arabia’, but he also keeps his calm even when the chips are down. The way he interacts with the crowd while searching for the answers of the Seven Questions is too relatable. We don’t seem to have elders like that in our lives anymore!
The play that was staged for a week ending August 25, centred around seven questions that you could read ahead of the play on the pamphlet that was handed to the audience before the play began. The answers highlighted the importance of unity, the disadvantages of using mobile phones, the advantages of helping others in the present and sharing stuff with the needy, besides the final message that is fun to decode.
The narrator Unaizah Ali and her team must be congratulated for keeping the audience away from their cell phones for more than an hour as they were all enjoying being part of the magical world of Hatim Tai, and his adventures.
Published in Dawn, Young World, August 31st, 2019