Theatre Review: Bombay Talkies

June 1, 2012 Times of India

Play:Bombay Talkies Directed by:Vikram Kapadia Duration:100 minutes Cast:Darshan Jariwalla, Zafar Khan Karachiwala & othersRating:3
Bombay, Bambai, Mumbai — its inhabitants call it by its many versions, while outsiders have nicknamed it as maximum city, jaadu ki nagari, the city of dreams, thanks to its magnanimous spirit. Some love this maddening island city’s hustle-bustle; others are daunted by the very fact.
But it doesn’t matter whether you are a Mumbaikar or not; everyone has their own account of this city. Even the play Bombay Talkies, attempts to capture the essence of people living in Mumbai, through eight characters that have been strung together in a series of monologues.
Does this juxtaposing work? Definitely. Just like Mumbai is a cosmopolitan of different kinds of people, the play too is a collage of nostalgic, happy, frustrated, suppressed, angry and hopeful soliloquies, as characters from various walks of life narrate their stories to the audiences.
The first monologue, Baby Dimple by Rasika Dugal, is of a young woman who’s trying to re-launch her career after a successful stint as a child artiste. At first, her performance seems a little forced, but eventually, she eases into the character so well, that it becomes one of the more memorable acts.
Through the other monologues, you get a glimpse into the lives of average Mumbaikars — a married woman, whose creativity is disregarded by her egoistic husband, a jaded journalist, who’s conscience wakes up, etc.
But the most enjoyable part of the show is the No Tension monologue, enacted splendidly by veteran Darshan Jariwalla. We’ve seen him in a serious, National Award winning performance (Gandhi, My Father) but his portrayal of a street-smart agent, with his crude, yet funny one-liner ‘barking like a bitch’ for his mistress will have you in splits. His act provides humorous relief to the otherwise sombre play.
After watching Bombay Talkies, you may feel that the overall mood of the play is murky, especially in the last act, The Uprising, where a man is contemplating suicide in 22nd century Mumbai. Why? Because by then, the city will have become unbearable! So it ends on this futuristic and rather absurd note, but it will get you to think about your future in this crazy city.
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