Deepa Punjani

Direction : Meherzad Patel
Writer : Meherzad Patel
Cast : Danesh Irani Sajeel Parakh Dilnaz Irani Darius Shroff Jigar Mehta Siddharth Merchant Mihir Mehra Danesh Khambata


At a recent “sold-out” show of this new play by Silly Point Productions, the audience by and large was having a good time…laughing aloud, as the production would have them. There were guffaws and titters as the impersonations of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Narendra Modi, Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal, Barack Obama and Arnab Goswami took stage. Certainly the actors in these roles seem to have internalised the mannerisms of these personalities to a greater or lesser degree and the riposte followed fast and quick. But is this enough to make a solid political comedy or indeed a solid play? Unfortunately, no.

At best this gives us an indication of a sense of humour that is content at being slapstick if not insensitive and naive at times, and which is derivative of lame and familiar jokes. This is of course not surprising at all, for we have cultivated the pedestrian and made it into an art form and a ritual even, that continues to be reflected on our Gujarati stage and in our Parsi Gujarati theatre from time to time. We revel in humour that is banal, but sometimes it is surprisingly trenchant and aware. Those moments are few and far between. They are there in this production as well, though it requires enormous patience on the part of a more discretionary viewer to cull these. Really it all comes down to the writing then.

Meherzad Patel is no doubt astute. In a sense he has reclaimed the gaanda-gela of the Parsi Gujarati comedy and has spinned a repertoire around it of his own ambitious design. He has a loyal team of versatile actors, notable among them, Danesh Irani. He is also a theatre practitioner who has learnt from experience with a keen eye on what might make the box-office tick. From a youngster who wrote and directed the coming-of-age comedy LIKE DAT ONLY! Meherzad Patel has established himself and his aptly titled company Silly Point Productions in the successful producer league. He has made it his business to be “silly” and there is clearly an audience for it.

The only moment for pause as the silliness of THE DEVIL WEARS BATAA runs its course is that, as a momentous election year looms large, it would hardly help to be disdainful of politics and overlay it with trite humour. Comedy can not only be fun but it is also of great value and function in a “polis” which derives from the Greek city-state, far removed from the nonsensical etymology of “politics” on which note, the play unleashes stereotypes with faux accents. As the loud pop and bhangra numbers join forces to make a perky intermission, we must not forget that this is after all a great tradition that has thrived on pure blah. It is a show unto itself.

*Deepa Punjani has been writing on theatre and performance for close to two decades. She represents the Indian National Section of Theatre Critics, which is part of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) that has over 50 participating countries.

   THE DEVIL WEARS BATAA Play Schedule(s)
No upcoming shows.

Please click here for the preview of the play

read / post your comments

   Discussion Board


Theatre Workshops
Register a workshop | View all workshops


About Us | Feedback | Contact Us | Write to us | Careers | Free Updates via SMS
List Your Play