Saleem Shah returns to the Delhi stage with a potpourri of hilarious ideas this weekend

When Saleem Shah takes stage, it is a cue to a power-packed performance and guaranteed entertainment for the audience. Be it a light-hearted comedy or an intense drama, the veteran imbues his roles with ingenuity and finesse.

This weekend he is coming to Delhi with a stand-up comedy play, Bhelpoori. Just as a bhelpoori is an amalgamation of many different ingredients, the play is also a mélange of multifarious facets of life. Saleem Shah describes it as “an uproarious satire on love, sex, politics, relationships, society, Bollywood and Tellywood.”

Fused with fiction, the play is a sequence of incidents recounted by Saleem Shah himself. Playing himself in this witty portrayal, he claims the play is “an extremely emotive tale that touches hearts with much ease.”

Asked what a stand-up comedy play is all about, he responds, “Just as a stand-up comedy act, often found in a restaurant or a bar, it is a hilarious one man show.” He points out a difference, though. “Unlike the content of a stand-up comedy act, Bhelpoori is not just a milieu to generate sarcastic and derisive humour. It is a narrative with tender emotions, much like a full-fledged play. So defining Bhelpoori as just a stand-up comedy would be inadequate,” he insists.

Being the sole performer in an 80-minute long endeavour, he admits it’s being quite a task. Holding the attention of the audience also requires a lot of effort. But “the script is so tightly drawn that the public becomes spellbound in the first 15 minutes. After that keeping the audience engrossed isn’t a task at all,” he says.

Attempt at scriptwriting

What makes the job easier for him is that he has himself written the script. On his first attempt at scriptwriting, Saleem Shah remarks, “It wasn’t like the work of a script writer at all! I ventured into writing the play during a month when I was unoccupied with work. I felt like putting down my thoughts and involve various jocular happenings that I have come across in my life and knit it with fictional situations.”

His experience as an actor greatly helped his foray into scriptwriting. Knowing how to express a particular situation and put across a certain thought has helped him understand how to mould his ideas into a telling tale.

Having already performed 31 shows in six different cities the play has been a success and Saleem Shah claims that the story has evolved through this journey.

Bhelpoori will be held at Allaince Francaise, Lodhi Road on Saturday at 7:30 pm and on Sunday at 7 pm.