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NOT SO FUNNY 'Bollox' received mixed responses
NOT SO FUNNY 'Bollox' received mixed responses

Conversation through e-mail these days is the quickest way to stay connected. Bollox is a play that bases its theme on one such interesting e-mail conversation. Walking into the auditorium, one would expect that the whole play will just be based on the e-mail exchange minus any plot.

And when it gets revealed at the end as to how the British national has been “bolloxed”, one cannot but admire the way the whole plot was built. Anuj Gurwara as Gajan Nath ( gajannath99@rediffmail.com) displays a range of emotions that will make you believe that Gajan is actually very much concerned about how quickly to get his cousin’s organs to his “good, loyal and best” friend, Edward Cruikshank.

B.S. Prakash as Edward Cruikshank was also lively in his display of emotions, especially at the end when he unravels the plot.

The other characters had small roles to play and did their part well.

The pace of the play was also good, except for the occasional gaps where the setting had to be changed.

And the icing on the cake was the presence of the original script writer, Farookh Dhondy who also seemed pretty happy with the play.

S. Sudhir Kumar’

SomajigudaThe missing punch

The character-name distortions with changing situations was good. So was the red shirt representing the Left. Very appropriate!!

The Bollywood music between scenes seemed out of sync, perhaps discordant even, shaking the audience out of the reverie built up in the previous scene.

One again wonders where and how things would end, and it does so on an interesting plane, though the punch which the audience would like to feel wasmissing at the end!

It is turning out that the audience looks forward to Vijay Marur’s witty ones, and the anticipation so built up, for the satire, or the humour in the play usually disappoints, as it happened with Bollox also.

It is always good to meet a creative director or performer, yet I do feel that meeting a director at the end, and attempting to see the play through his/her eyes destroys the joy of having enjoyed the play, experiencing it, mulling over it, chewing on it for oneself....

I am enjoying the play-fest 2008!

Rachna Gupta

A bad joke

It all began with Love Letters: A guy sitting in one corner and a girl at the other reading out letters while we moaned in pain that is not exactly in heart. Then Tumhari Amrita. Scene retake: read-read-and-read-some-more. Then Aapki Soniya. Ditto.

Then Reading Between the Lines. Then a few more. And now, Bollox. If I could review it in just one word, I would just cut and paste the title of the play. It’s a bad joke at its best.

I mean, open any saved file of Google Chat between two teenagers and you’ll find the conversation more humorous, more captivating and more thought-provoking.

Subhakar.com Simple yet hilarious

Just came out of the World Premiere stage presentation of Bollox – based on a short story by Farrukh Dhondy, done by DCH during the ongoing MetroPlus theatre festival.

Surprised by the contemporary theme around which the comedy has been so craftily woven. Theatre has played a vital part in spreading awareness about social evils, stigmas, taboos and myths; it has exposed political corruption, administrative callousness and bureaucratic bungling.

And here we see a remarkably simple, yet hilarious, expose about a very current and topical subject of internet scam carried out in the shape of email fraud.

I really wonder whether, while writing this piece, Farroukh was actually thinking of the rapidly spreading cyber crime of identity theft that is executed remotely via phishing attacks, chat room eavesdropping and email or e-commerce hacking.

Notice how even a prudent and seasoned middle-aged Brit falls prey to a ‘social engineering’ attack of the ingenious Indian Bihari crook, who so cleverly exploits the chink in the white man’s groin!

The message is nicely conveyed – if you are craving for any special services or rare collector’s marbles, then Be Warned – there’s every possibility of being taken for a ride!

The direction was tight and actors were marvellous in their portrayal and this fetched the DCH team honest appreciation from Farroukh himself and wholesome applause from the audience.

Hemant Jain

A pathetic show It is easy for someone to announce that theatre activity is on rise in our city and the city artistes are no less than the artistes from other cities, but sadly even before the announcement prior to the play melted down, was the reflection of the pathetic show performed by DCH on Sunday.

The play written by Farrukh Dhondy was about a European looking for a private body part so that he would get married to his girlfriend.

He gets some information on an email from India about a person ready to donate his organ in return for some good money.

How the Indian swindles money from the European forms part of the play.

To confuse further a communist angle was brought in the play which had no substance.

The short story converted into a play was depicted on the stage with the two characters sitting on either side of the stage and exchanging mails, but what I could not gather was why the characters had to get up from their chairs to deliver the dialogues as the scene was about exchanging the mails.

The use of certain words repeatedly showed the pervert nature of the play and was not decent in such theatre festivals.

It is time artistes especially the English theatre groups of our city take the plays more seriously and not belittle the festival of this nature.

Suresh Kumar

Lost tempo

Edward. Gajan. Cruikshank. Crookshag. E-mail. Taurus. Donor cousin with part denoting seat of shakti. Facilitator. World Body. Comrade Subroto. Beedi Jalaile. Naturally born baby. Operation. Kajra re. Mailer daemon.

For the first and last ten minutes of the hour-long adaptation of Farrukh Dhondy’s short-story, I was all ears.

And somewhere in between there was supposed to be the rest of the play where disjointed words kept floating in and out.

What could have been a hilarious comedy slowly lost its tempo and gradually faded into the darkness of the auditorium. There was a marked downslide in the quality of the play from the two staged earlier.

Especially, as the dialogues could have been crisper and less long-winded.

The credit solely goes to the actors who carried the play beyond the loose direction with their excellent performances. Despite everything, Pranava Singhal’s stage version of Bollox received mixed reactions.

While there were those who replied cheekily with the name of the play when asked how they found it, there was also warm laughter and appreciative applause along the way, as Cruikshank slowly fell for the sticky-web laid out by Gajan Nath, the friendly overseas facilitator of the organ transplant.

The play can go a long way in gaining audience provided the dialogues are re-worked and the direction made stronger.

Sharada Annamaraju

Slow narrative

Theatre demands a balance between form and content to be at its best. If any one aspect dominates the other, the work loses its appeal and doesn’t deliver what the audience expected from it.

This is what happens with the Dramatics Circle’s play, Bollox. It’s based on a Farook Dhondy story, which is no doubt gripping and entertaining, but was written to be read.

After the play, you realise that probably that was exactly how it was meant to be.

Edward, played by B.S. Prakash, is a rich Britisher who is about to be transplanted the organ from a man from Bihar through an international agency. The donor’s cousin Gajan (Anuj Gurwara) gets in touch with Edward through email and tries to exploit his urgency.

A series of hilarious emails is exchanged between the two people from entirely different backgrounds, and the ending cannot fail to surprise.

A series of e-mail exchanges surely made for some very interesting reading, but theatre demands a few other things as well.

A series of long monologues by Edward and Gajan in the beginning comes across as dry, and even their lines start lacking variety after a while.

The uninspiring, flat dialogue delivery by Prakash doesn’t help the cause.

The story gets thick only upon the entry of Comerade Subroto (Vijay Marur) and this part actually makes some very strong and thought provoking satires on the average

Before the end, the narrative was bound to get slower to set the platform for a surprising end, but it only loses its tightness in the process and is saved only by a great twist in the tale.

All in all, a good story, which doesn’t translate into that good theatre.

Aniket Sharma

Cont+Alt+Del

The Bengali bhadralok of Hyderabad may not like this. Vijay Marur trying hard to get his Bengali accent right in the play Bollox. We tried hard to laugh but the words looked forceful and too dragging (especially the four-letter word) at times.

When you watch two perfect plays, you expect the third one to be at least above average (if not good.) So, we were at Ravindra Bharathi (postponing our Sunday plans) with our excitement zooming high on the radar. But the mails, oops… play was nothing but a letdown. The theme had all the ingredients to make it an entertainer. Gajan Nath is mediating for his cousin, whose organs are to be transplanted to a Britisher 50-plus Edward Cruikshank.

The duo share their anxieties, modalities and of course, the money to be paid in the emails. The audience was the victim of this colourless chain-mail wherein the actors just read out boring lines, particularly Edward, who was hardly thrilled about receiving the ‘tried-n-tested’ source.

Except for an occasional laughs, Bollox offered nothing to tickle our funny bone.

Suresh. G

An enjoyable evening

The sheer ingenuity of bringing to ‘dramatic life’ a short story, which, even its author could not imagine could be so sensitively interpreted on stage — Pranava Singhal deserves the accolades!

The underplaying of Edward Cruikshank’s character, of his delicate need, of his British formality, of his incredulous disbelief — B.S.Prakash surpassed!

Gajan Nath – so audaciously interpreted on stage by Anuj Gurwara, a perfectly ‘trust-worthy’ con-man of the ‘oily, slimy variety’ — his presence surprised as much as his disappearance! Comrade Subroto – “phanthastheeek” in its portrayal was Vijay Marur!

As Farrukh Dhondy, the author of the short story declared, he was not the only one laughing at the jokes!

Each one, associated with ‘Bollox’, staged by Dramatic Circle on Sunday at Ravindra Bharathi deserved the ovation.

Meena Murdeshwar

Secunderabad

This is a selection of the feedback we received for Pranava Singhal’s play ‘Bollox’ staged at the Ravindra Bharathi on October 11. Out of the dozens of reviews, this is the pick. Congratulations! Meena

Murdeshwar! you win a dinner for two at Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan.

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