Kaun Salim Kiski Anarkali- Play Review by Kausalya Suharika R
A Play Depicting the Essence of Human Behavior in Today’s World!
Have you ever heard the saying that life can be a real rollercoaster, a mix of tragedy up close and comedy from a distance? Well, I couldn’t agree more. It’s funny how what seems like a tragedy to one person can be pure comedy to another. The intricate balance of tragedy and comedy in life is what forms the core of the play, ‘Kaun Salim Kiski Anarkali?’
We like to think that we follow our hearts, but do we really? Are we constantly influenced by society’s expectations and the need to fit into certain roles within our communities? Is it possible that we sometimes have to suppress our true selves in pursuit of something we can’t even see clearly? Unfortunately, yes. Must we sacrifice our true selves to attain something intangible, as the previous generation would have us believe? Do we truly require society’s validation to lead a happy life?
The play unfolds with the story of a handsome man, both in heart and appearance, speaking on phone with his loving pregnant wife, as he seeks employment in a wealthy man’s household to provide for their family. While working, a temptation arises as a treasure chest is opened before him, spilling golden coins at his feet. Just as he contemplates his options, the rich man, the Magistrate, arrives with his mistress, engaging in discussions on how to maintain their extramarital relationship without getting caught by their respective spouses. The play takes a dark and unexpected turn, revealing a plot twist that starkly contrasts with the humor that precedes it.
The cast, including Pooja Bhamrrah, Piyush Kumar, Priyasha Bhardwaj, Prateek Kumar, Vibha Chibber, Hasan Zaidi, and Faraz Khan, delivers stellar performances. Pooja Bhamrrah, in particular, shines, emerging as the true star of the play. Hasan Zaidi’s skillful voice modulation and witty yet profound Urdu poetry captivate the audience like a pied piper. Piyush Kumar, portraying the innocent yet comical ‘poor’ hero, elicits laughter throughout the play, only to leave us heartbroken by the climax, showcasing exceptional acting skills. Faraz Khan and Vibha Chibber, seasoned actors, masterfully portray both comedic and villainous roles, doing justice to the complexity of the play. Additionally, the play comes to life when the actors engage with the audience, delivering clever and humorous responses.
As audience members, we are treated to a riotous comedy filled with mistaken identities and confusion about spouses, with Vibha Chibber orchestrating the characters like mere puppets. However, a sudden plot twist raises ethical questions about the characters. Are they truly in love with each other, or are they merely seeking an escape from their current spouses? The characters refuse to explore these questions, content with pursuing their desires while avoiding emotional attachments. At one point, characters who were deeply in love point guns at each other, questioning where their love has gone. Hence, the suggestive title ‘Kaun Salim Kiski Anarkali’!
In a desperate attempt to protect their social standing in this flawed world, the play concludes with the tragic death of an innocent man who had the misfortune of knowing their dark secrets. This raises the question: how can seemingly comedic characters resort to such drastic measures to conceal their own moral failings?
Dramatist Mr. Faraz Khan defends this decision, saying, “It was a difficult choice, but, isn’t it reflective of the real world? We often witness ironies happening right in front of our eyes and choose to accept them and move forward.” Genius actress Ms. Pooja Bhamrrah adds, “Life can be like that, can’t it? Everything may seem fine, but suddenly, the innocent ones are caught in the chaos. We aim to instill this thought in our audience.”
Hasan Zaidi’s exploration of Urdu poetry in the play was widely praised by the audience. Even for those who do not speak Urdu, the lyrical beauty of the Shayaris is captivating. The inclusion of Indian Urdu poetry in an Italian remake is a delightful and thought-provoking twist in this compelling narrative.
Kaun Salim Kiski Anarkali is a testament to the power of theater in exploring the nuances of our existence and challenging us to reflect on the intricacies of our own lives.