Theatre

When Cyrus met Kunal

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Two comedians come up on stage to tell the world about their friendship that’s lasted for 26 long years

It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that funnymen Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijayakar have chemistry. After all, it’s a rapport borne of 26 years of friendship, one that’s seen them through on stage and off it and even on television with The Week that Wasn’t (TWTW).

Comedic collaborations

This weekend the duo will be return to the stage with How I Met your Father (HIMYF) at the Royal Opera House. “It is not so royal any more, if you ask me. They let anyone enter. In our case, we should call it Raell,” quips Broacha, with a nod to Raell Padamsee, theatre personality and director of Ace Productions, which is producing the show. Last year, Broacha and Vijayakar came up with 40 Shades of Grey (Hair) where they joked about turning older. “This is the second instalment of that show, which nobody watched,” laughs Vijayakar. “We are working very hard towards making this one run.”

HIMYF will also feature stage and film actor and web icon Gopal Dutt who performs four gags including a monologue in Hindi from the perspective of an elevator operator. “This is my first time on stage with both of them,” says Dutt. “I’ve always told Cyrus that I wanted to work with him so when this show happened, he asked me to join in. It’s a fun format,” says Dutt, who has been part of TWTW for eight years.

The largely English show will be a mix of stand-up comedy and sketches, with a bit of video added in to make it more theatrical. “I like to pontificate and rant so that’s what I will be doing throughout,” states Broacha. “Gopal is a sarcastic man and has a different way of looking at life. His humour is different from our lowbrow stuff but we hope to bring all of them together.” HIMYFis a show loosely based on Vijayakar telling Broacha’s daughter Maya how the two of them met. “Normally, you ask your parents how they met but here, my children are curious to know why he is there more than their mother. We vaguely thought it was a good idea,” says Broacha. “And then, Raell twisted us into doing this.”

From the beginning

The duo is at Padamsee’s beautiful home in Colaba. They’re seated around the table with Dutt and others from the team discussing dialogues. Bounding about, adding another (barking) voice to the meeting is Padamsee’s dog, Cookie. The setting is fitting. The two actually met in the same house, the same room and around the same table. “Raell had called in this new actor to read,” says Broacha. We were doing a pantomime called Alibaba Aur 40 Chor and needed a fourth reader. When it was Kunal’s turn, he coughed after every second word – he used to smoke a lot then – and couldn’t understand half the lines in the script. He was ridiculous. I’ve never heard anyone read as badly. The kids who were there found his face funny. It was a pantomime so he was told to forget the lines and just express. Till today, ‘forget the lines’ has remained his motto.” Eventually, the two bonded over food and drinks. “In those days, actors were different. We called a spade a spade. We had great fun together. Besides, Kunal had a car and he was rich,” he adds.

Family friendly

This friendship and easy camaraderie also translates into good performances featuring the two. Is it working together? “The truth is we do different kinds of comedy and are good at it,” says Vijayakar. “We don’t interfere with each other’s work. I let him do what he does best and he does the same for me.”

Broacha mentions a previous puppet show being a success because ‘we work well with our hands’. Despite the many puns, they add that the show is suitable for all ages. “There’s no filth or sexual innuendo,” says Vijayakar quickly. “It is comedy based on real observations.” They also won’t be touching upon anything political because there’s a select audience you can joke about these things with. “This show is in a big theatre and we have to work within the lines,” adds Broacha. “We live in a democracy or so I’m told.”

How I Met your Father will take place this evening at the Royal Opera House, at 7.30p.m;and Sunday September17 at St Andrews Auditorium at 7.30 p.m.Visit www.bookmyshow.com.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 5:49:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/when-cyrus-met-kunal/article19693597.ece

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