Review: The Sidhus of Upper Juhu

This is the first of a series of short reviews of movies, plays and shows that I have seen and books I have read over the last one month or so.

Let’s start with a play I saw 3 weeks ago. A few school friends decided on a sudden whim to book tickets for The Sidhus of Upper Juhu and swept in their enthusiasm, my wife, kids and I jumped in as well. The play was at the NCPA, directed by Rahul daCunha, with Rajit Kapur and Shernaz Patel as the lead actors. Ms. Patel and Mr. Kapur have always been favorites of mine, Ms. Patel since her Anne Frank days and Mr. Kapur from his Byomkesh Bakshi days. And living in Mumbai, you can’t really escape Mr. DaCunha.

I should have taken my friend Deepa’s advice. She is a theatre enthusiast and critic and each time I run into her and ask her if there is anything worth seeing, she shakes her head in despair. According to her, the state of most theatre in India is abysmal and that of English theatre…the less said the better.

When we were in LTMMC, we used to do plays at least twice a year. Some we would write ourselves, and some were adaptations. The ones we used to write were parodies…a couple of them actually turned out to be so good and popular, we performed them at other venues and even won competitions.

The Sidhus’ appearance on stage was delayed by 10 minutes for some late arrivals who were caught in traffic due to an IPL match at the nearby cricket stadium…we were the idiots who came in early to ensure we wouldn’t get stuck in that very same traffic.

Nevertheless, despite the play starting about 10-15 minutes late, the first act was fun and crackling with energy and cool with funny one-liners. The second act started going south. The third, after the interval had 3 other members of the cast joining in and was pretty much a disaster. The fourth and the last act was better than the third but that is not saying much.

I kept thinking during the performance that this is exactly the kind of play we would have come up with in college. And 30 years later, we were paying Rs. 750 to watch two lovely actors go through a script that could easily have been written by someone in medical college, directed by an about-to-be doctor and enacted well by in-college talent.

Of course, you wouldn’t know this given the thunderous applause the cast and the director got…but then…in a blind country, the one-eyed man is King.

15 Comments

  • dipali wrote:

    I had the same feeling after watching PIKU.I went inspite of reading reviews which suggested it to be a mediocre film with two superstars.My driver had seen it and told me it was not worth the money!

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    I actually liked Piku

  • Sad to see talented actors like Patel &. Kapur go downhill. In contrast though I would recommend you watch Mere pita Gaye Rangoon great acting and thoug some is lost in the language ..worth the 500 I spent and I got lucky when a person in the 750 seat asked if I would swap!!!

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    They are not bad. It’s the play itself.

  • Thanks Bhavin ….. I was really tempted to see this play I have lived all my life in Juhu ( the emotinal conncet ! ) till about 8 yrs ago when I shifted near my work place in Borivali for logistical reasons , as there were good new High rises in Kandivali having all in house facilities like pool tennis squash gym etc ….U saved my Rs 1500?- … I owe u a treat for sure …. Keep writing more reviews & blogs ..they are really interesting . I love your style of writing its so informal , almost like having a heart to heart chat. I have been missing your articles since they stopped in coming in the Mumbai Mirror .I used to really wait eagerly to read them … I am glad to see u back in action.

  • M R Sundaram wrote:

    It is all a mixed bag in these days when reviws leave you brainwashed & Confused.

  • Christina k. wrote:

    Wow. You have the audacity to comment on the play so and so manner. Keep it up. Somehow the posters had a repellant effect on me. Thanks. Christina.

  • I agree wih dipali. Piku was a total letdown

  • Mehroo Kharegat wrote:

    I am afraid I cannot make any comments on the plays for the simple reason that I have not seen any.
    However there is so much wisdom in your last statement because is it not the way our dear country is going these days?

  • Was planning to watch it, as Patel and Kapur are my favorite too! Thanks for the review!

  • A,K,VASUMATHI wrote:

    I am glad that you are back with your reviews.

    But I would love to read your columns in Mumbai MIRROR again as you used to cover a wide range of topics in a very informal way.

    Anyhow keep writing .

  • Firoze Hirjikaka wrote:

    You’re quite right. After a promising beginning, it started to go downhill. Just one observation though. With my very rudimentary knowledge of journalism, I was told to avoid abbreviations because it assumes the reader is familiar with them. I have no idea what LTMMC stands for.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Firoze. Sorry. That is Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, popularly known at Sion Medical College.

  • dipali wrote:

    LTMC is Lokmanya Tilak Medical College.(sion hospital)

  • Shekhar Banavali wrote:

    Thanks for excellent review. However I would say this mediocre play is not a problem specific to India. I saw a play here in London which was so mediocre that as you said a college kid could have done better job. We too had to pay exorbitant ticket prices. The same is true for some of big budget Hollywood movies which are dull but still make moolah at box office.

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