(Due to reasons beyond my control, I haven’t been able to post this until now. I apologize for the delay)
Let’s be honest, we’ve all learned (the hard way) that the TIP drama club does not know the meaning of the word ‘restraint’ so when we entered the auditorium we’d kept our minds as open as they could possibly get in the Islami Jamhurriya e Pakistan. We’d expected to
a) be a bit scandalized at the subject matter and it’s portrayal,
b) learn a few new ways to insult random strangers,
c) wonder how Osama and Noman can seem so completely normal (read sane) in every day student life yet be so wild on stage, and
d) laugh guiltily but loudly at the jokes, because lets face it, they’re actually funny.
Briefly, the drama club delivered on all four counts. Although, as a reviewer and not a critic, I would prefer to keep my opinion to myself; I can safely say that the crowd enjoyed the video and the live performance enough to make the event an overall success. It wasn’t Shakespeare; in fact, I wouldn’t even put it in the same league as Omar Sharif, but it was fun. And I guess that’s what these guys were trying for.
This time, the drama club’s performance wasn’t free for all. There was a fifty rupee ticket, which in my opinion, was a pretty smart move because only people who actually wanted to see the group’s type of comedy would be there. Like previously mentioned, most TIPians know the routine; so anybody who had complaints from the last show would know enough to not make an appearance that day. When I arrived, the video had already begun.
Now, honestly, I enjoyed the video. The impersonations of famous personalities such as Amir Liaquat, Altaf Hussain, Zubaida Tariq were spot on. In fact, the music videos, and the Rami Swami helpline show (I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten the name they’d come up with) were actually hilarious. Their take on the ridiculousness of Pakistani and Indian television was pretty relevant; and though maybe they didn’t intend it as such, but the episode of Kum Kum and Manmohan Singh’s destructive marriage was a poignant reminder of how closely we monitor the lives of our celebrities. Though I’m sure Kumkum probably doesn’t swear so much…
The live performance on the other hand, was weak. One issue that the club faces is that they seem to be making up their script as they go along. It often feels like they don’t actually know how the play will turn out themselves. While watching ’80 rupees ka zinger’, I wondered two things: where’s the zinger, and what’s the plot? And other than purely for entertainment purposes, is there a point to the play? These guys can do better, much better (and they have in the video), but the live drama was a bit of a disappointment. There’s only so long that insulting each other can be funny.
But the best thing is that in the past three years, the Drama club has managed to win the respect of even natural dissers like myself. This group does not care about what people say about them and their style of doing comedy; and none of the actual performers have ever tried answering back at the violent criticism that has often come their way. It’s amazing how, in the face of all the crap they’ve had thrown at them, they’ve kept trying. They’re not great script writers, they’re kind of crude, and their wigs need cleaning, but they’re immensely brave and persistant. You have to respect these guys, even if they cross-dress.