The name of Dawar Mehmood and his Kopykats Productions needs no introduction; they have been around for over a decade and have brought to life some of the best dramas from yesteryears. Be it Aangan Terrha, Haaf Playt or the August series (all inspired from TV plays), Dawar and Kopykats have so far worked extensively with Anwar Maqsood. This is the first time he will be bringing to theatre another legendary writer’s work and choosing Haseena Moin’s Ankahi was a masterstroke. Despite being nearly 40 years old, the play is still loved by all and is considered a PTV classic that has aged well. At Edition PK, we decided to jolt down the four reasons why Ankahi shouldn’t be considered just another hit and should be a runaway hit when it’s staged next month. Read on:
It has one of the best female actors playing the protagonist!
The biggest draw of Ankahi in 1982 was its protagonist Sana Murad, played to perfection by the one and only Shehnaz Sheikh. She portrayed the character of the clumsy middle-class girl who wants to fulfill her dreams and ends up having suitors right, left and center. That was Shehnaz’s first TV project and she quit acting after her second play Tanhaiyan, but is still remembered by all those who saw these plays. The Sana Murad of 2020 will be played by Amna Ilyas who has proved her mettle in a short span of time. She managed to stand out in Zinda Bhaag in front of Naseeruddin Shah, in Saat Din Mohabbat opposite Sheheryar Munawwar and Mahira Khan and in Baaji where she was pitted against Meera and Osman Khalid Butt, so she knows how to carry a project on her shoulders. She is not just drop-dead gorgeous, she has a stunning voice that reminds you of yesteryear heroines namely Babra Sharif. Add to that her amazing dancing and you get the perfect Sana Murad of 2020, since this is going to be a musical comedy. If anyone could do justice to that iconic character in the modern-day, it’s Amna Ilyas!
Haseena Moin has given the script her blessing
To get Haseena Moin’s blessing for a remake is a Herculean task because she refused to bring back Tanhaiyan when the idea was presented to her a few years back. It might have to do something with Sajid Hassan who was introduced by Haseena Moin in Dhoop Kinarey because he is the one behind the stage adaptation, along with Saqib Sumeer. The two have previously worked with Kopykats Productions as writers, and actors but this time, they have limited themselves to just the writing part. That’s a loss for the audience who believe that while Sajid Hasan would have looked great as Mamoon, Saqib could have played one of the suitors. If these two thespians believe that in order to make Ankahi a perfect script that Haseena Moin approves, they have to stay backstage, then the audience might be in for a treat!
Fresh cast, fresh expectations!
The most satisfying part of the cast besides Amna Ilyas is knowing that Shafqat Khan ‘Shafqi’ would be playing the second most important character of the play, ‘Mamoon’. The character was made evergreen by Saleem Nasir who tried his hand at comedy after a long time, and won everyone over. Shafqi is one of the few actors who could give Mamoon the energy it deserves; his chemistry with Amna Ilyas’ Sana will be more important to the theatre version than anything else. Then there are the newcomers who will play characters made eternal by Shakeel sahib, Javed Sheikh, the late Jamshed Ansari and even Misbah Ishak (now Misbah Khalid, although she could still play her old character well). Then there is veteran theatre actor Sohail Hashmi who will play Qazi Wajid’s Siddiqui Sahab character, who was also the father-in-law of Shakeel’s Taimur Ahmed. Will there be a foreign returned Moby in the play, a genius kid named Jibran, a khala from abroad and Maryam, it remains to be seen. Till then, we can wonder how the script could be and which lines from the original will be kept, and which will be upgraded to suit the modern-day scenario.
Dawar Mehmood knows how to create magic on stage
Last but not the least, theatre is a director’s delight, especially if the script in hand has different moods and the actors are capable of portraying those moods. Dawar Mehmood has been around since 2006 and was a name to reckon with in Islamabad when he switched to Karachi earlier this decade. Since then he has given back to back hits including adaptations from Anwar Maqsood’s plays and the very original Siachen that is still remembered after so many years. Many of the superstars of today were once part of Kopykats Productions and with PTV’s legendary Kamaluddin Ahmed helping him in the makeup department, Wahab Shah doing the choreography and the blessings of the one and only Haseena Moin, the audience can expect wonders on the stage.