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.