If you like Amul’s cleverly worded lines, you would’ve heard of Bharat Dabholkar. Well, if you haven’t, he’s the man behind the ads. The man wears many hats. Like fedoras, cowboys etc. Also, figuratively, he wears many hats, that of an adman, a theatre professional and he’s even dabbled in movies directing a few here and there. So when I read about his play ‘Bottoms Up’, my expectations were sky high. Turns out, the ticket prices, like my expectations, were sky high. I called up Fine Arts in Chembur and I believe he mentioned the highest ticket was about Rs.1500 and I wasn’t going to pay that amount unless they were going to show me unicorns and honest politicians. So I settled for a Rs. 500 ticket. I also gently persuaded two of my friends to come. We haven’t spoken since then, so that friendship might be over.

The place

Fine Arts in Chembur has a stall and balcony seating. After parking the car several kilometres away (there is no parking there), we got to the ticket window. Tickets bought, we climbed a lot of stairs. So many stairs that I believe I saw a few clouds giving us company. The stage has a woman on a pole. You will realise that this has nothing to do with the proceedings on the stage. The play does believe that it is an adult comedy. I believe this is because children have better taste.

We were shown to our places where it was incredibly hot. The ushers probably realized this given that we were sweating profusely and switched on the fans at full speed. Just before the play began, the AC started blasting some seriously chilled air so now we were freezing. Once the artists were assured that we had been subjected to extremities of temperature, the lights were dimmed for the play.

The play

If you go to this play expecting a story or to be entertained, you shouldn’t. The ‘play’ is a series of disjointed skits. One skit has nothing to do with the other. Sometimes, and this is so obvious, a few lines are thrown in only so the joke can be set up. Occasionally, Bharat Dabholkar walks onto stage to tell us that the actors need time to change so let me show you something. This something can be anything from ads to short films to anything that has amused Mr. Dabholkar. Just when you start to think the proceedings are bizarre and unfunny, scantily clad women and heavily clad men in shiny clothes start to shimmy to some strange songs.

I believe the word you are looking for right now is ‘befuddled.’

After a rather laboured performance, it’s time for a much-needed interval. The place offers samosas, vadas, idlis and drinks. I tell you this because I remember it. I remember it because the rest of it was so bad. Post interval, we are subjected to more whatsapp jokes being performed under the guise of a play. Almost 2 hours later, we emerge disoriented and craving logic. Those who have been severely affected are seen clamouring at the counter for a refund and a gun.

Watch this play only if you….never mind… don’t watch this.

PS: Friends (you know who you are), I am sorry. Talk to me, please?

In short

Play: Bottoms Up

Cast: Ananth Narayan Mahadevan, Kunal Vijaykar, Amit Roy, Mohan Azaad, Kavita Kapur, Rupali Suri, Bhavna Pani, Sneha Chavan 

Director: Bharat Dabholkar

Set: The set has a backdrop that has a cutout of a woman on a pole. And also (as explained by Mr. Dabholkar himself)  LED screens, reflective flooring and 200 naked bulbs designed as arches on the stage.  Hormuzd Khambata has choreographed the dances. (From: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/x-rated-and-ready-for-mumbai/15921172#sthash.5eyorhyo.dpuf) 

Language: English

Show: The 8:30pm show at Fine Arts, Chembur

The wallet is lighter by : Rs.500 per head (It starts with Rs.400. There are tickets for Rs.1000 and more. You can book tickets on bookmyshow. )

Destress quotient: 0.5 AAHs 

 Verdict: Irrelevant and annoying, this play’s storyline is in a serious need of an upgrade. Stand up comedians do a great job of taking pot shots at the various situations in our country and in comparison, this performance lacks substance and style. It probably worked when social media didn’t exist but now it simply makes you want to up your bottom and leave. With a star cast that can do so much better, this play is a let down at every level.

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