Film and TV artist Sarwat Gillani’s latest theatre offering Sab Golmaal Hai is one of the best comedy plays staged recently in Karachi.

The comedy of errors – written by Babar Jamal and directed by Zeeshan Haider – features a stellar cast, led by Ishtiaq Umar, and manages to keep you engrossed in a nonsensical plot that makes you laugh uncontrollably.

The media night of the play was held on Saturday at the Arts Council, where the play will be staged until May 21.

The play revolves around a common man who finds himself in uncommon circumstances. Abid (Ishtiaq Umar) unknowingly swaps briefcases with an unknown person and in exchange of his lunch finds himself Rs50 million richer. His wife (Erum Bashir) wants to have nothing to do with the ‘money’; things go haywire when he asks his wife to cancel his birthday dinner and escape to Dubai via many destinations including Kabul.

Add a suspicious taxi driver (Noman Khan), two police officers (Saad Zameer Fareedi and Farhan Alam Siddiqui) and a bunch of greedy friends (Syed Ahmer Hussain and Syeda Frozan Mustafa) and you get a perfect ‘what-the-hell’ plot that keeps you glued to your seats.

Ishitaq Umar gave a standout performance as Abid
Ishitaq Umar gave a standout performance as Abid

The play belongs to Ishtiaq Umar who had previously been part of Kopykats Productions as Ishtiaq Rasool as well as Jami’s Moor where he played the victim whose death turned the tables for the people offering fake degrees. He carries the play on his shoulders and displays his versatility by being happy, sad, careless and careful, all at the same time.

Erum Bashir as his wife is excellent in acrobatic sequences including tackling of one of the guys, handling the wrong number situation and trying to keep her husband in check.

Erum Bashir may be weeping in this shot, but her adept execution of her more action-packed scenes make her one to watch
Erum Bashir may be weeping in this shot, but her adept execution of her more action-packed scenes make her one to watch

The timings of rest of the cast must be commended here as not once did they falter on stage and stayed in characters and entertained the audience for two hours.

Most of the one-liners are worth a clap, while many situations make you laugh even before the moment to laugh has arrived. The only issue with the play was a couple of below-the-belt humour that seemed to be heavily inspired from Shah Rukh Khan-Saif Ali Khan starrer Kal Ho Na Ho.

If the director manages to lessen their occurrences, not only will the play appear crisp but the length can also be reduced to 90 minutes that is ideal for a theatre play.

All the proceeds of this charity theatre play will go to the Special Olympics Pakistan that has been patronising athletes with special needs and also brought us Kiski Topi Kis Ke Sar a couple of years ago for the same reason.

Originally published in Dawn, May 15th, 2017