Wondering how to spend your weekday in the absence of Eat Festivals and Literature gatherings? Look no further as Karachi’s Arts Council has the answer for you. Tahir Entertainments’ Bhai Bhai provides you a chance to laugh in the presence of a Hollywood actor Faran Tahir who calls the shots as well as his younger brother Ali whom we all know and love as Johnny from Teen Bata Teen. The play also features Bulbulay’s Momo also known as Hina Dilpazir (first time doing theatre) and Aamir Qureshi (returning to the stage after 25 years) and with such an ensemble cast, you have something that’s not be missed!
Bonnie (Ali Tahir) and Buddy (Faran Tahir) are two brothers who have nothing in common except their mother (Hina Dilpazir) who is on vacations away from them; Bonnie is a writer who has to pitch a serial to Netflix while Buddy is a shady character who has nothing else to do than steal TV from his neighbors’ house. When a producer (Aamir Qureshi) listens to Bonnie’s pitch, he rejects it right away and falls for the unwritten pitch by Buddy, which changes the equation, making one brother angry and the other, happy. What happens next is a comedy of errors where the two brothers bond together over failures and the audience gets to know more about them.
The last time Faran Tahir performed on the stage in Pakistan, he was a teenager acting under the direction of his father Naeem Tahir in Lahore – that was 39 years ago! Since then he has made a name for himself in international films and TV shows appearing in Hollywood as well as in many US Network shows including the final season of the extremely popular Scandal a couple of years back. He has also been a regular on Broadway (American theatre) so watching him act in Pakistan automatically raises the bar of local theatre. He plays the role of Buddy with so much ease that you forget that he is a Hollywood actor who spends most of his time in America. The way he becomes Faran Tahir to impress the Producer is also interesting, making the audience laugh hard at the pun. He teams up with his brother Ali Tahir who has been entertaining fans for over 20 years and to watch them in tandem is a dream come true. Ali is shown as the energetic brother especially after his work is rejected and his brother’s idea is preferred. The play has its pros and cons but the former outweigh the latter big time. Aamir Qureshi’s welcome return to the theatre is something his fans would be looking forward to, especially after his many successful TV dramas and films where he has done a commendable job.
Hina Dilpazir is one of the finest actresses in Pakistan but she doesn’t have much to do in the play and that is disheartening for her followers. She makes an appearance after one hour and although she does an amazing job, one small role doesn’t do justice to her talent. Yes, she looks too young for the role of Faran and Ali’s mother but in theatre, that doesn’t matter if you can convince the audience and she mesmerizes them with her act. Furthermore, the stage play is too much Americanized for the Pakistani audience; in America, people leave their homes unlocked and it’s easy to steal stuff from their homes without raising alarm. In Pakistan, street crime is common and it would have been great had that been incorporated in the drama.
The Verdict – 3.5/5
Considering the Tahir Brothers are grandsons of the legendary Imtiaz Ali Taj and sons of the iconic Naeem Tahir, it would have been great had they staged a play of their grandfather’s and later went onto adapt Sam Shepard’s True West. However, it seems that they are more interested in returning to Karachi every year especially after the kind of response they got from this play, making their decision to go big with an adaptation that would and should be followed by either Begum Ki Billi or other Imtiaz Ali Taj classic play (hint hint!). Despite not having much time to prepare for the stage play, not enough time for marketing their unique selling point (Faran Tahir) and not getting the bigger hall at the Arts Council due to schedule conflicts, Bhai Bhai is here to stay and might even extend their stay in the City of Lights only if the demand increases from the audience even after February 10th, 2019.