Fun and frolic

"Naughty at 40" ... humour for a social cause.  

PERENNIAL LATECOMERS and confusion about seats and the late start apart, Paresh Rawal's play, "Naughty At 40" provided plenty of fun and frolic to a starving audience. It was a packed Music Academy on November 2 when Paresh took over the play with his witty and brilliant performance. Never mind, if much of the dialogue was derisive of women. But 50 per cent of the audience comprised women, and they seemed to enjoy all the wise cracks hugely.

The play was hilarious — made largely so with Paresh's sense of comic timing and spontaneous essaying of the character he plays along with that of the effeminate neighbour's husband. The characters brought out a simple story of two families.

Natwar, or Nattu (as he would like to be called by the young things), is actually a contented man living with his pretty but loud wife, Parimala (Swati Shah). The fact that she always keeps an eye on him makes her a Dracula. They have a son, Goti (Sridhar Wadsar), a precocious fellow, who spies on him and curries favour from his mother.

Natwar, bored and over 40, would like some excitement in his life. Right now, it is the neighbour who he seeks out in the terrace for some stealthy romance. Till Monica (Hetal Patel) and her wimpy husband move next door. Monica is the Liril girl — model/ actress who has no time for household chores. Her husband, Mohan (Dilip Rawal) is the perfect foil for her — he cooks, cleans and tends to her demands.

Mohan likes Parimala, who he thinks is the perfect `Bharatiya nari'. Things go on, till a frustrated Natwar, begs to Lord Krishna to allow him to be like Monica's husband for just one day. His wish is granted. Confusion and chaos reign with some very corny situations that turn out to be very funny, and some lessons are learnt. Without the versatile Paresh, this play would have fallen flat on its face. Music that was introduced at intervals was appropriate for the proceedings — in fact, it added to the zest of the theme. One however fails to understand why there must be such high decibel levels while talking?

The play has had several successful shows in the U.S. and it is being staged for the first time in India, that too, in Chennai. Paresh, at the end of the play, said he was struck by the warmth and attention given to him and would love to perform again here. He hopes to come back to Chennai next year with another production, which he believes the audience will love.

Brought to Chennai by the Madras Esplanade Round Table 30, "Naughty At 40" is a fundraiser to help the organisation surge forward in its cause — `Freedom Through Education'.

Their aim is to educate one million children by providing opportunities and infrastructure. And funds collected from this venture will go to develop a school at Agarmel village near Poonamalle. Several organisations such as Club Mahindra, Talwalkers, participated as sponsors.