A fortnight back I was witness to a laugh riot that happened behind Ravindra Kalakshetra, an account of it I record now.
On seeing the programmes in the cultural section of the newspaper, something that caught my attention – a twin package of food and comical drama by a well known troupe. The name “All the best” was heard of and on noting it was 350th show, I had no second thoughts on how that evening would be spent. The tickets were booked in advance and the presence at the venue was on time.
The open air theater was, surprisingly, not full to its capacity even though the tickets were sold out. So we were requested to wait, during which a documentary was shown on the achievements of the team and the plays. The team is “Guru Samsthe of Hubli” headed by Yeshwant Sardeshpande [the same person behind the dialogues of Rama Bhama Shama and the person who made Kamal Hassan recite the north karnataka kannada dialogues] and they have won laurels for All the best and other 2 plays which they are performing all over the state in a three day programme which is known as “Aarogyakkagi haasya, aarogyakkagi aahara” (Laughter for health and food for health) and thus includes a complementary meal from the sponsors MTR. That day’s show was All the best followed by a 50th show of “Sahi ri sahi ri” and a debut of “Dil maange more”.
As the sky turned dark, the stage was lit up. The three protagonists of the play are each challenged – one blind, one deaf and the other dumb. They have a code language (either in terms of written cards or hand sign) to communicate to each other and they compliment each other and are able to make up for the loss of ability. Then a girl enters their lives, whom all of them like. They go out to achieve individually to impress her and to win her over only to find at the end that she is already engaged to another man.
The above might suggest a sentimental setup (and I guess it was that setup which drowned the film “123” which had the same story and enacted by Prabhudeva & brothers with Jyothika) but in the play, the comedy is the king and there is no time for sentiments. Once in the war, one constantly tries to save himself from the onset of bullets firing. Once in the seat, there is continuous bullets in the form of dialogues, mannerisms and jokes and what not – only difference is no one tries to save himself from them but welcomes them with open hands. Infact lapse of concentration for a second is sure to cause loss of laughter for a minute! No wonder the audience was finding it difficult not to roll on the floor laughing (for there was no space) and hence held on to their seats tightly with one hand and the other was either on stomach or on mouth trying to control laughter. The heat generated due to such rigorous activity kept the cold away but the freezing wind made its presence felt during intermission. But for the shivering, the combination of starry sky and the open air theater cold on a friday evening was a dream setup.
When I think, it was not as much jokes, but they way it was presented and carried out, that made the difference. Of course, once a barrier is broken , it is easy to keep the audience laughing – like once ball overcomes inertia and starts rolling, it is easy to keep it rolling.
On 350th show, the show is surely what it is expected to be – devoid of holes. All the three actors (Yeshwant Sardeshpande and the person who played dumb were better than the third) did their part superbly, had impeccable timing and more importantly complemented each other. Sarika has very good facial expressions and her dress sense was superb. Each time she looked different and attractive than before 😉
On finishing the play, all headed to relish the MTR delicacies which was a feast for just realised hunger.
Before leaving, I made sure I bought tickets for my parents[my judgement that next day would also be good, was confirmed later. Even though they resisted, I knew they would not regret!] and later suggested few to see it. If I could, I could have been present on all the three days.
Sitcoms shown on TV which forcibly include a laugh track in the background as a hint to audience that they are supposed to laugh, when they meekly try to smile but fail, should learn a thing or two from these shows.
Situational comedies when in good hands has unbelievable ability to make the audience laugh hysterically. It is not great jokes, but in contrast simple jokes, which are supported by good dialogue delivery, body language and timing.