The play Ismat aur Manto ki Chuhal Baaziyaan, staged as a joint collaboration of Roadwayz and Kahaniwala, at Lamakaan, was a superhit with an overwhelming response from the large audience. Despite being serious and revolutionary writers of their times, the play portrayed how they would have shared lighter moments, which was the essence of this play. Capt SN Ahmed enacted the role of Manto and Seema Khan played the role of Ismat, in the play.
Capt Ahmed as Manto made a mark by bringing the character to life. He performed with ease and looked as if the audience were seeing Manto in flesh and blood, and not Capt Ahmed. His dialogue delivery in Urdu and effective use of available stage space demonstrated how well he imbibed the character onstage.
On the other hand, Seema Khan as Ismat Chughtai made a perfect match for the character, with the way she was styled, her conversations, her teasing dialogues and reactions were highly impressive. In fact, eminent writer and theatre personality, Aslam Farshori, was spellbound by her performance and said, “I got reminded of Ismat Chughtai as I had met her in person as a child and observed her from close quarters.”
The 50-minute play, Ismat aur Manto ki Chuhal Baaziyaan was conceptualised and researched by Suhas Bhatnagar, who brought life into each character and ensured they appeal to the audience. As both the actors were involved in writing too, the delivery was seamless. Excerpts from original writings were in complex Urdu, but both the actors made it sound simple. The audience, majorly non-Urdu speaking, found a few words tough to comprehend, but were so involved, that they understood the whole crux with the enactments.
The collaborators of the play, Roadwayz is a theatre group started by Capt Ahmed, focused on Street Plays. Kahaniwala is a group initiated by Suhas Bhatnagar that focuses on poetry in theatre. Draupadi, Arundhati, Mere Qirdar are a few of the previous plays they have done.