Quality Plays/theatre ideally should not be the monopoly of few places and cities. The makers should take them to different parts of the country/world since audience interest is definitely there. However sponsorship is a must and here corporates and HNI’s are required to step in. It is also important to spread the word around so that more and more people know about quality plays/drama’s and interest increases.
In this context, i bring to you the review of the play “The Siddhu’s of Upper Juhu” which incidentally was taken to Bhubaneswar by a school friend of mine. I hope you like the review enough to see the play and other similar plays and write about them as well.
Rajit Kapoor, Shernaz Patel and Rahul Da Cunha are big names in theatre, and if one sees “The Siddhu’s of Upper Juhu” , one knows why. Playing a middleaged couple, Rajit and Shernaz hold you spellbound throughout the 100 minutes duration of this play by their natural spontaneity. Rahul of course is the former ad-man turned threatre director who has several successful and highly acclaimed plays to his credit.
Rajit plays Balwinder Siddhu, a Punjabi senior level private sector executive. Known as Bubbles he is married to Behroz, a Parsi lady, played by Shernaz. Bubbles and Shernaz stay on the 14th floor of a sea-facing flat in Upper Juhu, Mumbai, which sounds great, but is not, which one discovers as the play progresses
Bubbles and Behroz being a Punjabi-Parsi couple is pertinent to mention since in this entire play, the audience is taken through the various gamut of socio-economic problems faced by the country and the city of Mumbai, and more than once the question of their Punjabi-Parsi background is mentioned. One notes that the play has humour throughout which keeps the audience rolling in laughter but the problems and issues are very much there at the background.
Some typical Mumbai or rather large metro/city problems shown in a delightfully funny manner are as follows;
(i) Unwelcoming and quarrelsome neighbours, who are unknown strangers, known more by their occupation than their names, (ii) water crisis and coming back home to no water in taps and strike by water tanker association having to happen the same day (iii) electricity crisis affecting lifts and forcing resident members of an upscale society to walk up 14 floors, (iv) Security and theft issues, (v) exorbitant medical costs/doctor fees and so on.
Social issues raised are (i) unemployment (ii) underemployment (iii) problems of getting new job at 50 or so when the Employers can get younger people at half the salary (iv) work and personal stress contributing to mental depression and (v)the attitude of own family members including brothers/sisters to sudden financial crisis and so on.
One interesting sub-plot is the city of Mumbai itself and life in Mumbai. The director skilfully shows us how many invest their entire life savings in a flat but do not get to realise their dream, as the dream is more of a mirage. Yet, the city has so grown on you that you wish to stay on here and want to fight it out.
Terrific performances by both Rajit and Shernaz are seen. Rajit plays the role of an irritable man to pefection, so much so that audience is both upset with him for his boorish behaviour as well as sympathetic to him for his troubles. Shernaz plays his patient wife, who in her own way is a strong person, though normally she says yes to him on most matters, being deeply in love with him totally.
Direction by Rahul Da Cunha is awesome and the script is kept tight , with minute to minute control by the former ad-man turned threatre director who has several successful and highly acclaimed plays to his credit.
This particular play is about life in general, which has both happiness as well as sadness and teaches us that though tribulations, one has to stick together and find alternatives and way forward. Therefore the play does end on a positive note with the couple seeking a new life together and an alternate occupation.
The play keeps on coming every few months and has been taken by its makers to various parts of India.