The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has been so high that it has, naturally, inspired artistes in almost every field around the world. Kirdaar Art Academy’s Hindustani play Tum Aaye To is based on various every day humans affected by the lockdown in some way or the other.
The play is an anthology of five stories with the backdrop of the COVID-19 lockdown.
1) The first one is a poetry performance that falls more in the street play genre. It features a group of youngsters reciting a poem ‘Tum Aaye To’. There is no doubt that the pandemic has taken a toll on many of us. But at the same time, the lockdown brought back some old days of togetherness. This is the highlight of his performance. And while doing so, it doesn’t veer onto the insensitive path at all.
2) This is followed by the tragic story of a daily-wage laborer and his wife. They are forced to return to their native place on foot, like thousands of others, because of the halting of all work in the lockdown. The play succeeds in making us feel for the two individuals and for that the performance of both the actors is a major contribution. You are taken back in time in 2020 when we saw their plight on news channels.
3) The doctors and medical staff in the entire country carried out a thankless job during the pandemic by putting their lives at stake to save many others. The third play focuses on their story and brings to light their plight of working tirelessly amidst such scary times. After making us go through various emotions, the play ends on a positive note.
4) A major aspect of the pandemic was online classes for kids after their schools were closed. The fourth one is a light-hearted portrayal of teachers adapting to this change in teaching style and its consequences. Along with providing humor, this one also gives a moving message in the end.
5) There is no doubt that everyone struggled in the pandemic, including the well to do. Many of them have been content with being safe personally and getting their demands met. This play is a reminder to them that there are many out there who are way less fortunate and they need their help. This one also puts across its point in a positive manner.
A total of 16 actors were a part of the play and they played 46 characters. It was a mammoth task but they were up for it. Iqbal Niyazi’s direction needs to be lauded for handling stories of different genres with ease and taking out good performances from these many actors.
It also needs to be noted that the actors are strugglers trying to make their mark in the films and TV. For some of them, it was their first outing on stage. As claimed by Niyazi after the show, it took him 90 days to prepare for this performance of 90 minutes.
The script is to-the-point and at the same time full of emotional moments. The use of music and songs also enhance the overall effect.
The makers have made smart use of limited number of props. The lighting also falls on the positive side. The only questionable aspect was the portrayal of the media in the second story.
All in all, Tum Aaye To succeeds in moving you.
Writers: Dr Naaz Khan, Mumtaz Niyazi, Iqbal Niyazi and Javed Sarwar
Design and Direction: Iqbal Niyazi