February issue 2010
The Greenwich University Consumer Behaviour Class of Fall 2009 organised “The Golden 1940s,” an event that revolved around the birth of Pakistan, on January 9.
The first presentation was a short screening of a news bulletin filmed in black and white and set in the 1940s. Newscasters with names like ‘Tabassum Aara’ and ‘Allaudin Allahabadi’ regaled the audience with ‘recent’ news updates. The sight of Mr Allahabadi fixing his collar and smiling inappropriately when Marilyn Monroe was mentioned presented a funny spectacle.
The second performance was a play about a Muslim family living in India after partition. One would have thought that it was just a joke when the credits mentioned in the beginning that the play included “males, females and chakkas” until the character of Mehboob/Madhubala came on stage to represent the third gender. The lead female role of Begum Firdous Aara, the evil mother-in-law, was performed convincingly, as was that of Hakim Sahib, who was hilarious, especially when dealing with a patient whose ‘weakness’ seemed to pose a threat to his ‘manhood.’ But the play ended on a very serious note when Hakim Sahib and Begum Firdous’s son, Farhat, was killed in a Hindu-Muslim feud.
The second play, a parody of The Nadia Khan show, was comically titled, ‘The Bawli Khan Show.’ The first guests were ‘Barkat Khan’ and his wife, invited to the show because their being married in 1949 fit the theme of the 1940s. This was followed by a parody of Meera and her self-proclaimed husband, Atiq-ur-Rehman. Particularly amusing was the segment where the co-host asked Meera about her educational qualifications and she said that she had completed her “Inter ka course,” to which the witty co-host replied: “Thank goodness she included the ‘ka,’ or it would have had to be censored!”
The last play, titled ‘Shehri Babu,’ was a typical 1940s romance — a city boy falls in love with a village girl. The actors performed well but the play was not as impressive as those that preceded it.