If there's a Dawar Mehmood play on stage, we know we're being offered some quality theatre.
With Anwar Maqsood leading the way, the actor-director has come up with Pawnay 14 August, Sawa 14 August, Aangan Terrha, Haaf Playt and recently Anwar Maqsood Ka Dharna – all of which were commercially successful and took the audience on a laugh-out-loud ride.
Dawar's latest project Siachen is set to raise the bar as high - maybe not as high as the glacier that has inspired the play, but he believes that he'll meet the audience's great expectations from his company Kopykats Productions' work.
We got hold of the young director recently and he had a lot to say about his upcoming project:
Images: How is Siachen different from your earlier projects?
Dawar Mehmood: Siachen is about a place where many of our soldiers have been martyred or returned as Ghazis. It is because of them that India hasn’t attacked us in many years and this play is about the lives of those soldiers and their life in subzero temperature.
We have tried to make the play interesting. You will see that not only will the sets be different but we will engage the audience through a few novel ways.
Images: How do you plan to do that? Will you turn the air conditioning all the way up at the venue?
Dawar: [Smiles] Something of that sort. In fact, we had the whole cast under house arrest for 120 days so that they could bond together. They weren’t allowed to return home for both Eids and we restricted the use of cellphones, so they didn't have access to social media as well. So what you will see is a cast that is gelled together just like the soldiers of Siachen.
We also have a surprise in store for the audience, but I am keeping that a secret. The audience will love the innovations.
Also, the original soundtrack by Abbas Ali Khan will also be a treat for the audience since he has done a commendable job again for Kopykats Productions.
Images: Is it true that you have gone for an almost new cast and none of the actors from your previous plays are part of Siachen?
Dawar: Yes, it's true. Most actors and actresses in the cast haven’t worked with us or anywhere else before.
In order to make them accustomed to the environment of Siachen, we made them spend some time at the glacier, so that when they act on stage, they know what to imagine in their mind and how to deliver dialogues.
Images: Anwar Maqsood has written a few plays for you. How is this one going to be different?
Dawar: So far, Anwar Maqsood has penned scripts that make people laugh more and cry less. Siachen will make them cry more and laugh less because it is one of those places in Pakistan where the soldiers do their duty so that we can sleep in peace. The play is a tribute of sorts to them, but that doesn’t mean there are no comic moments. People know Anwar sahib and his writing… he always chips in with a cheeky dialogue even in the strangest of conversations and you will see that a lot in this play.
Images: When and where will Siachen be staged?
Dawar: Since the play is based on the Siachen glacier, where Pakistan and India have fought before, we decided to stage the play first for the armed forces of Pakistan. The first show will be held in Rawalpindi on October 28th, after which the play will have a regular run in the Capital. We will then move to other parts of the country, such as Karachi and Lahore, where we perform the play until the crowd allows. [Laughs]