Beyond dhansaak & salli boti

When Danesh Irani wrote the song I am Bawa and I know it (a spoof on the song I’m Sexy and I Know It) a few years ago, he was merely trying to fight boredom and have some fun. It was an added bonus when the song became a hit on You Tube. And now, a year later Meherzad Patel, the acclaimed writer of the popular play Class Act has written a play using Irani’s song title and even got the multi-talented Parsi to act in the lead role!

“After the success of Class Act, I wanted to focus on something that is enjoyable but also spreads a deeper message without actually making it sound like a lecture on politics,” says Patel.

I’m Bawa and I know it features Parsi veterans such as Dinyar Tirandaz and Shahnaz Jehani and young actors

The play involves a Parsi couple (Dinyar Tirandaz and Shahnaz Jehani who are selling their flat in Cusrow Baug and migrating to Canada. Their only concern is their son Keki, who doesn’t want to go with them. The problem lies in the fact that Keki has to get married within 30 days to acquire the flat. All hell breaks loose when Keki decides to get married to a guy instead of a girl.

Describing his experience of directing the play Patel says, “The Parsi community is not one that is growing in India. Therefore, they have a set of rules and regulations that are set by the Parsi Panchayat and have to be followed. Anyone who doesn’t is no longer considered a part of the community. I wanted to focus on the subjects that are frowned upon universally in all communities including ours.”

But writing on sensitive topics such as homosexuality and religion is not an easy task, especially if it addresses a large audience.

“It was challenging but then again, it addresses a taboo topic in a fun and witty manner. I don’t want it to be understood or enjoyed by only a small set of people. I want my play to be enjoyed by everyone, including the non-Parsis.”

Patel who has roped in experienced actors like Danesh Khambata, Dinyar Tirandaz, Roshan Tirandaz, Afshad Kelawala, Shahnaz Jehani, Parinaz Jal, Pheroza Modi, and many others for the play, is making sure the group rehearses every evening. “You can’t make a living by only doing plays. Most of my actors have regular day jobs and come to rehearse in the evening. I am very thankful to them for sparing time for this,” he says.

Though the play involves slapstick comedy, Patel is positive about the reception of the play. “I think the audience has matured over the years and has become much more accepting. I hope my play works because it’s not something that is only restricted to a particular community, it is about time that the people wake up and think beyond the realms of culture and caste,” he signs off.

When: March 21, 7.30 pm
Where: Tata Theatre, NCPA,
Nariman Point
Contact: 66223737

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