“Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharni” presented by Wings Cultural Society at the recently concluded Urdu Drama Festival organised by Urdu Academy, Delhi at Shri Ram Centre is a comedy free from stereotypical comic devices. Its exposure of the functioning of the sordid world of yellow journalism imparts it the sense of immediacy and hence it is comically more effective.
Directed by Feroz Zahid Khan, an alumnus of National School of Drama and Mount View Theatre London, the production is remarkable for its light touches of a serious issue that evokes laughter – loud and long. But it is not a mere entertainer that you forget soon after you leave the theatre; the tinge of black comedy and the contrast between the world of unemployed youth and the unscrupulous world of racketeers belonging to the rich awakens us to a society which has no qualms for ethics.
Based on British novelist Roald Dahl's short story and adapted by Rashid Ali, the play opens with two youngsters watching news channels. They are unemployed and have to face a lot of hardship. Regular news channel viewing fires their imagination to do something big, to earn quick bucks and lead a life of plenty. They devise a plot and start implementing it with the seriousness of a military strategist. In the process of exposing the private lives of the rich and famous with ulterior motive, they discover murky goings on of the world of yellow journalism. Initially, they feel that they are moving towards the right direction and are sure of achieving what they desire. However, towards the end it is their proposed targets, who have the last laugh.
Jointly conceived by Ananya Parikh and Sharmistha Saha, the suggestively functional sets provide enough space for performers to act and improvise imparting a comic rhythm to the production. The members of the cast are eminently comic, displaying a perfect sense of timing. Ashima Kumari, a new-comer and Tarique Hameed, who has been associated with the productions of School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU under the supervision of Prof. H.S. Shivaprakash, are cast in the role of unemployed youth – Kahmira and Akbar. They deliver their lines with vigour and clarity. They are naive, clever and foolish in turn. This contrast turns out to be amusing. They sustain the sprightliness of their characters. Ansari as printer makes his scene with unemployed youths hilarious. Harish Kumar as Raghu Bawla, the most feared and powerful electronic media journalist makes startling revelation about the unholy alliance between the rich and famous and the media.