Welcome to the Good, the Bad and the Funny. As the cheeky title suggests, this play is, in its own way, a tribute to Bollywood completing a century this year. The most popular film industry in the country has definitely made its place in the hearts of her loving people. Be it the extreme characters, the eternal fight between Good and Evil, the forbidden romances or the strength of an Indian mother-son relationship, Evam Bangalore presents Bollywood KEE-MAA, exploring the clichés that have created strong and popular stereotypes in the working mindsets of the people.
Ram and Lakhan, Vijay and Basanti, Vijay’s “Maa” and the last but not the least, the fourth leg of the enormous chair, Ramu Kaka, without whom every story is rendered useless; also, the ultimate twist in the tale with the super-evil, power hungry villain, Mocambo. These names are imprinted in our memory thanks to movies like Deewar, Sholay and probably every other evergreen Bollywood tale.
The play had me in its right pocket from the very description. Well chosen by the Hindu Metroplus Theatre team, this particular play proved to be one of the most entertaining of the three. How could it not? It is the perfect balance of parody and storytelling. The wordplay in the title is enough for the audience to take a hint. The play has everything in the making of a superhit, the perfect story with shocking twists, the emotional appeal of young love and relationships, the twisted evildoings of the villain and most importantly, suspense. The play explores every Bollywood cliché with ease and accuracy, leaving the audience in splits and reconfirming their love for these very clichés which have shaped Bollywood uniquely.
It opens with loud background music, full on dhinchak, just the right amount of dhinchak. Enter the Hero, the Heroine, the wealthy disciplinarian Father, the Mother and of course, the villain ready to turn their worlds upside down for personal gain.
Stop. Rewind. “Bees saal pehle…”
Two friends, Ram and Lakhan, cherishing their youth, cruising on motor bikes while stealing glances at two beautiful, shy girls while crooning about their friendship and carefree life. It reminds one of the Sholay scenes and one is automatically drawn to the scene. This is duly followed by the friendship with the two pretty girls; the movie dates and eventually, their weddings. The two then make the bond, “Dosti ko rishtedaari mein badlange..”, vowing to get their children married to each other. The mere way the whole charade is enacted leaves the audience in splits. The clichés have clearly begun to work their magic.
Then, with the effective use of lighting; blue for happy and red of evil, the entire stage turns red and in walks the villain, perfect with a French beard, a blood red shirt and dark blazer, ruffled hair and most importantly the look of pure evil in his eyes; the evil brother of Ram, who wants all the business under his name and thus plots to murder his brother. Who even saw that coming? Meanwhile, the newlywed couples simultaneously receive the “good news” that they are soon to be parents. The villain, upon receiving this news, has devised a plan on the infamous “Amavas ki Raat”, in order to take over the business, he must kill his brother.
As he reveals this behind closed doors to the audience, while thinking loud and clear, complete with menacing gestures, there is laughter and even applause as one thinks of Mocambo and Gabbar Singh briefly. Then, the perpetrated car accident which proves fatal to Lakhan, blinding his wife forever (note that forever here is a relative term) and then comes the villain, laughing as his scheme worked perfectly.
Then the play switches to the second frame, with a jovial Basanti, returning from the US, for her fateful 18th birthday after which she will take over her father’s company. She breaks into a gig with everyone, from the airport staff to the traffic policeman, as is customary in every movie; the scene is well executed and leaves the now acclimatised, audience in splits. To counter the happiness, a bunch of hoodlums then begin to harass the poor damsel in distress and lo and behold, enter Vijay, with strong morals and compassion to rescue her. From here on the plot unwinds quickly with great mimicry of famous dialogues from the old yet not forgotten movies. Including an item number, without which, a masalafilled Bollywood movie would be bland and incomplete. It also reveals the religious and patriotic angle, as the Indian audience relates with the miracles ShivJi performs while we lay and weep at his idolized feet. Finally we arrive at the ending, which, beautifully done, reveals the plot and a surprise counter plot, which even the used-to-clichés, is left gasping, not aghast, but for air after the heavy dose of laughing.
A wonderful play, to be enjoyed by the open minded audience, preferably above the voting age as otherwise the probability of you having watched the evergreen movies is minimal. A good hearted parody of Bollywood and the sentiments attached to it which appeals to the audiences the most, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Extremely well directed, with some great thus effective acting and the creative use of lighting allows the audience’s imagination to flourish and thus make it successful. Bollywood KEE-MAA is, much like its inspiration, an entertainer. A must watch, it provides for a fun-filled meaning and a hilarious peek into the bygone era of movies.
Makes one fall in love with the characters and reignites the dying love for Bollywood, leaving one with a melancholic smile, as we realize the great cinema we have been subjected to throughout the years, be it Dilip Kumar in action, Big B in his prime years or the eternal bad guy to beat, Pran, you realize that even though technology has advanced, there is no comparison between the movies today and movies like Shehanshah, Ardh Satya and Shakti.