Served on a fresh theatrical plate, Bollywood Kee-Maa reminds us why Bollywood is still the maa of drama. Even if the characters did not have names, one would have been able to identify them as a Bollywood hero, heroine, villain etc. and of course, maa. It is an exhibition of those moments in Bollywood imagination that are still soul-food for the masses. It also shows us why, for many in our country, heroes (and villains) need to explain every action of theirs, irrespective of whether it is logical or convincing. It also reminds us of the innocent lot we are — on and off screen.
Sridip S. Nambiar
Around Bollywood in 80 minutes
Minimum makeup and minimum props but maximum entertainment — that was Bollywood Kee Maa. The play was able to make one relive some of the captivating moments of Hindi cinema. The portrayal of an item dance, nowadays a job not performed by the heroine, and the appearance of a terrorist group at the climax may be an attempt not to confine the story to a particular period. One may wonder why there was no siblings-separated-at-birth-later-fighting-the-villian or a family-song or a birthmark paving the way for their re-union. But these were deftly substituted with families of close friends reuniting to ward off challenges posed by the villain. All the actors did a wonderful job donning multiple characters with great aplomb. The script writer's exposure to Hindi cinema, as admitted by him during the interaction at the end of the show, has influenced the use of Hindi dialogues in the play which exactly fits into the scheme of things.
The play was able to cover all aspects of a typical Bollywood movie — separation, vengeance, fight, chase, song, dance, romance, divine intervention etc.
True to its name, the play was a bonafide Bollywood entertainer, showcasing all shades of human emotions and experiences and then some. An over-the-top melodrama about a dashing hero, a demure heroine, a melodramatic mother and a diabolical villain — it served up all the masala that the Indian audience could identify with. Spirited acting and fast- paced direction ensured a roller-coaster ride that never lost its grip on the plot, even as it hurtled towards the expected happy ending.
A great tribute to our continuing fascination for everything Bollywood.
Playing on cliches
An interesting theme and an intelligent title set my expectations high for Bollywood Kee-Maa. But it never went beyond a few laughs. The actors were brilliant, switching between characters in a jiffy, with a mere flicker of an expression and often with an unnoticeable change in costume. Including the expected clichés — of damsels in distress and sexually deprived goondas, flashbacks, slow motions, and villain-hero chases, the play was brilliantly captured and worth the watch! Not to forget, the play explains precisely why the villain explains everything before he dies, and before the end of the movie that too!
Excellent plate of keemaa
As I entered JTPac, my 14-year-old exclaimed: “What Pa, theater on a weekend? Am sure this is going to be a disaster!” I was hoping that my better half's attempt at initiating the son into theatre would not end up a disaster. Evam made sure it didn't. Half an hour into the show, it just washed over us and had all of us in splits. Brilliant performance all around with Shakti and Basanti standing out in this hilarious, satirical take on Bollywood's evergreens over the past 100 years. Excellent usage of lights made the actors stand out brilliantly, making the play both beautiful and funny. All the five frames, succeeded in evoking the cliches of Bollywood to the letter — the good, the bad and the funny in equal measure. “Awesome” was the final verdict by my 14-year-old. As for my better half and myself, it was an excellent plate of Keemaa and roti, which even our Maa would be proud of!
A masala mix
By recreating the hackneyed dialogues and melodrama of Hindi movies, Bollywood Kee-Maa by Evam evoked many light moments. Hyperbolic situations, over the top acting and sentimentalism took shape in a clichéd storyline. If one could shut eyes to themes, technique and innovativeness, and look at it only as a spoof, nothing could make for better entertainment. Songs, romance, dishum-dishum and jhatkas too had their place in the masala mix. To top it all, the hero and heroine lip-locked as sunflowers bloomed in time to preserve their privacy. The large framework of popular Bollywood was jam-packed into a minimalist setting with props and frames.
Fun-filled roller coaster ride
What was meant to be a walk down the memory lane turned out to be a fun-filled roller coaster ride that seemed to finish too fast. It is hard to believe that five vibrant energetic actors could bring together all the clichés and dialogues unique to Indian cinema. What I expected was a spoof of Hindi movies, instead what we saw was a journey which took us through all the movies we had loved watching. Although it was difficult to know which particular movie was being relived on the stage, the beauty was in the smooth flow from one character to the other. The blind mother, the item girl, the vamp and the villain, the promises of life long friendships, the US-returned heroine, all rolled into a rollicking play. Haven’t we seen them all in so many movies? Everything was so familiar yet so deliciously enjoyable. The five actors played their part to perfection. What I liked best was the actor who played Ram, smoothly turning into Ramu Kaka. It was a great way to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema, but you had to be a movie buff and a lover of Bollywood cinema to enjoy this play to the fullest. I only wish they had announced the names of the actors who did their parts so well.
S.C. Bose Road