Review – Suno!

May 1, 2016 by     Comments Off on Review – Suno!    Posted under: Entertainment, Expressions, General, Screenplay


Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the last showing of Suno and was extremely eager at having the opportunity of witnessing a Hamza Bangash play at last. Since I’m still not over my disappointment at not being able to see Baraf Paani, another one of Hamza Bangash’s plays. Suno! is a play written and directed by Hamza Bangash. It was performed at the Karachi Arts Council and had a run between April 27th-30th. Suno aims to remove the stereotype that surrounds one of the most rarely discussed universal topics ; mental illness.

Suno has been  produced under the banner of Taskeen, a Non-Profit Organization that is aimed at expanding awareness surrounding psychological conditions. The founder of Taskeen, Dr. Taha Sabri, a renowned psychiatrist and the producer of this play remarked, “We live in a society where mental illnesses have a certain stigma attached to them, making it even more important to educate people on this matter, Suno is about how a person suffering from bipolar disorder, a mental illness, is supported by his family and treated by society. We wanted to use performing arts as a medium to spread awareness regarding this issue.”

The inspiration for Suno was partially based off of one of Taskeen’s volunteers; Ramis Akhtar who has been suffering from a mental illness and manage to successfully overcome it with the right kin of support.  Suno does not aim to simply be entertaining nor does it talk about the big topics simply for the sake of talking but for the belief that it will help society change it’s take on mental illnesses and the families who are plagued by it.

The cast of Suno was absolutely spectacular. Every character was bought to life by the respective actor/actress. That is where the beauty of theater lies; how it is being performed right in front of you, all the worries and anxieties we face in our daily life are bought to stage and performed right in front of us and that takes a special kind of talent and skill as well as bravery. The protagonist of Suno is an 18-year-old boy named Gulzar played by Hadi Bin Arshad. Gulzar attracts love and empathy from the audience from the very onset of the play. The parents Sohail Rizvi and Afia Rizvi were played by Hammad Siddiq and Danya Zaidi and they couldn’t have done more of a better job. They managed to capture the feelings and confusions of two parents trying to get through to their son, torn between what they should and shouldn’t do. Yasmin Hashmi plays Sofia, a loving and caring friend of Gulzar whose only concern  is helping her friend. It would’ve been nice to see more of Sofia’s character in the play.


It’s a difficult job trying to show the progression of bipolar disorder and its effects seeing as how unlike physical conditions a mental illness cannot be seen which is one of the reasons why it takes so long to diagnose a psychological condition such as that of bipolar disorder and thus many people go on suffering from any kind of mental pain without anyone knowing. So naturally I watched with surprise and amazement as the creators of Suno  attempted to capture the essence of such an ailment through theater. The lead actor performed spectacularly showing the audience what is like in the mind of a person with bipolar disorder, especially a young boy dealing with school, grades, family matters simultaneously.

Suno not only paints us a picture of a young boy’s confusion and struggle to understand what is wrong with him. But it also tells us the story of a family’s struggle to go through life when mental illness is a part of their history. And that is a very important aspect to tell as the play begins with the death of Gulzar’s grandfather and clue by clue it is revealed how that death came to be and how it was the trigger of Gulzar’s illness.

An extremely overwhelming performance, Suno really strikes a chord with the audience and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end of it. It is of utmost importance that society eradicates the stigmas and the stereotypes surrounding mental illness and learns to accept and help the individuals and their families who have to wake up every morning and witness firsthand what conditions such as these can do to a person.


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