A woman’s home is without a doubt her heaven and I say home and not house because there is a huge difference between the two. Sabiha is one such woman in this play who has put in all her love to make a home for her family , her children may have moved out but she has a very good relationship with her husband Mansoor , which makes her life complete. Things change very early in the play when an argument leads to Mansoor getting extremely furious and uttering those three words that will end their thirty nine year long relationship forever. That is when Sabiha is forced to leave her home, although Mansoor insists it was out of outrage that he uttered those words and was extremely sorry but there is no room for apologies, of course. Now the title suggests that from there on the story should be mainly about Sabiha, who has been forced out of her heaven and thrown into a cruel world where there is nothing but hardships. But I feel it is not so, meaning it is not just the story of this jannat se nikali hui aurat but it is also the story of an equally vulnerable man who does not know how to live his life without this woman. He may have been the one responsible for breaking the relationship but he suffers no less. Had Mansoor been living his life with ease, having no remorse it would have been an apt title. I feel for Mansoor just as much as I do for Sabiha. Mansoor can never compensate for his mistake but he has gone out of his way to make up to Sabiha or to make life a little less difficult for her by offering to move out and letting her live in the house, by helping financially without letting her know and more than anything else by feeling her pain like it was his.
The play definitely has a lot to say. The relationship of a Husband and Wife is just as fragile as it is strong because it is just about the only relationship that can truly be broken by uttering a few words only (at least in Islam), I find this fact to be very ironic. The second thing is that married couples need each other more in their old age, if there are problems earlier in the marriage both have the strength to deal with it and also because the longer you are in a relationship, the more you invest therefore there is greater disappointment and feeling of loneliness when the relationship ends. Third, having three sons is no guarantee that they will be standing by their parents like a rock in times of difficulty. This is a good subject to discuss and to show especially for our society where sons are raised like investments, which will ensure a better future for the parents. Fourthly, the things we say in anger can sometimes cost us much more than we bargained for! Also, it shows how a woman is questioned and becomes a source of curiosity once she is divorced, whether she be young or old. The subject matter of the play is strong and unusual but the way it has been put on the plate is not very impressive. I must say that Ek Nazar Meri Taraf put forward the plight of widowed women in our society in a much apt manner; to me Siffat was more of a Jannat se Nikali Hui Aurat. In this particular case it is almost as if Sabiha pushed Manssor to the edge and they should hold equal responsibility.
First of all I have a big, huge, mega issue with the title of the play, because I really feel it is not the story of that one woman only but it is the story of different relationships, of life. It is the story of Mansoor, Nadeem and Irim too. It is the story of parents who spend their entire life raising three sons and have no one to call their own. The writer, Rabia Razzaq, could have done a better job with the dialogues; they are not intense enough most of the times. Samina Peerzada brings out the best in her dialogues with the help of her expressions. Sajjid Hassan is doing a great job too, but the message gets lost if the dialogues are too long and convey too little. The pace of the show is extremely slow and it seems like there is a lot of repetition, sometimes it is almost as if the director cannot manage the different tracks in the story and we jump from one track to the other feeling we may have missed something in between. The background music is too loud for my taste and at times comes at all the odd moments.
Altogether I feel the subject matter of the play is great, so is the acting but the narration of the story as a whole is very average. But I am looking forward to the twist in the play, the whole Hilala issue, Could it be that Sabiha may just end up spending rest of her life with Nadeem? rather unorthodox but you never know!
Author: Fatima Awan.