It might have happened 71 years ago but the memories of partition are fresh in many minds. But a 90-year-old man with Alzheimer’s is struggling to remember the details in this tragic-comedy play written and directed by Dr. M Sayeed Alam. The old man is played by the wonderful Saleem Shah. The play was staged at Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate.
WHAT’S THE PLAY ABOUT:
Ghazanfar Hussain is 90-years-old and struggles with memory loss. Ironically, the memory loss is about the events of and after the partition, and the subsequent blood math. Amnesia leads to a few comic ramblings of the senile man but they also prick the consciousness of the people long after the play ends. Saleem Shah with his brilliant acting nails the old man act; the Urdu words and diction are perfect to the T.
The story unfolds through the late-night monologue of Ghazanfar who is trying to write a letter while remembering the events after partition. He loves his country, and his country is India, while it seems all his family members went to Pakistan after the partition. Through this monologue and silences in the play, Shah raises many vital questions that make the audience think, while giving it a comic twist. The idea of Pakistan, love for one’s country, and partition all are presented in a satirical manner. His tragedy becomes our comedy but everyone understands the unfortunate events that transpired. The play was a success and witness to that was the standing ovation and appreciation at the end of the play.
Watch ‘Pakistan Aur Alzheimer’s’ for Saleem Shah and his evergreen acting. The mannerisms and diction of an Urdu-speaking old man are perfected along with a brilliant script that brings out the irony of partition.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
Even while dealing with such a sensitive and emotional issue, the brilliance of the play is in the language used, that is Hindustani. It might become a bit difficult to comprehend some words but that’s the enigmatic beauty of the language. The main idea and issues are brought about wonderfully.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT:
We are a generation of people who have not suffered from the wrath, trauma, and horrors of partition but there still is a generation alive, who lived through that time. The play subtly brings out the horrors of partition, exploring the dilemmas of the time. Watch the play to understand the difficult times that were.
— Vishakha Bhagia.
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