When ‘The Siddhus of Upper Juhu’ met Delhi cousins….Preetha Nair reviews Rahul da Cunha’s new production

Rajit Kapur and Shernaz-Patel
Rajit Kapur and Shernaz-Patel

 Director Rahul da Cunha was terrified to bring his play “The Siddhus of Upper Juhu” to the national capital because he was skeptical of its denizen’s response as the story with a Mumbai storyline.

However, when a packed audience at the Kamani Auditorium gave it a standing ovation on Sunday, he knew that the Siddhus had walked straight into the heart of Delhites. The amusing satire made the audience realise that urban chaos that is here to stay.

Set in a tony Mumbai suburb, “The Siddhus of Upper Juhu” is the story of a middle-aged couple Balvinder Sidhu aka Bubbles (Rajit Kapur) and Behroze (Shernaz Patel). Like every metropolitan couple, they too grapple with existential issues of urban life and challenge the emptiness of the daily rigmarole.

Rajit Kapur and Shernaz-Patel
Rajit Kapur and Shernaz-Patel

The couples’ life is played out as a metaphor at the 14th floor apartment in the Sea View Towers highrise – where the sea view is no more than a ‘sea glance’ actually. In spite of having poured their life savings into this two-and-half bedroom flat, Bubbles is sleepless, weary, and irritated all the time. He curses the wailing dogs and the partying airhostess in the next apartment who keeps him awake. With the endless racket of this unsleeping city, Bubbles goes steadily paranoid.

Whether it is the malfunctioning air conditioner, nagging neighbours, stink of the uncleared garbage or the drilling by civic body, it definitely rings a bell with the Delhi audience. For that matter, the problems are universal for any big city.

The play offers a laugh riot with a script laced with satire and wit. It is also a social commentary on many issues like unemployment and urban angst. “Ache din” also finds a mention in the 90-minute play. Talented Rajit Kapur and Shernaz Patel essay the role of the couple with sparkling chemistry. With a stellar performance, Kapur has once again proved that he belongs to the stage. To drive home the point that life comes with little packages of happiness, the couple supports each other through thick and thin.

Mr Rahul DaCunha
Mr Rahul DaCunha

Uncertainty dawns on the couple when Bubbles loses his job and their house is burgled. To make things worse, Bubbles finds that besides his clothes, the thieves did not spare even his precious Black Label. The event takes a toll on his health and he has a nervous breakdown!

Though Behroze is back to work to support the family, her employers too shut shop. However, the play ends on a positive note, with Bubbles planning to set up a cricket academy at Lonavala, a long-cherished dream of his.

The play, is an initiative by Aadyam, to bring five new plays from highly reputed theatre groups to venues in Mumbai and Delhi.

Director Rahul da Cunha, son of legendary adman Geson da Cunha and the brain behind the Amul ads, said that it has helped the theatre to reach masses. The audience can look forward to the second in the series, “The Merchant of Venice” on July 11 (Tomorrow!).

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