Veteran actors Rakesh Bedi and Anant Mahadevan unite for a new situational comedy around cricket
Actors Anant Mahadevan and Rakesh Bedi go back a long way. Both made their entry into Indian television around the same time. While Bedi debuted with Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984), Indian television's first comedy, Mahadevan started his career with Ados Pados (1985), the story of a single parent (Amol Palekar) who finds love again with his son's teacher. "Despite acting in several films and sitcoms together, we have never got a chance to act in the same play," says Mahadevan. But all that is set to change, as the duo unite for a new comedy titled Last Over, written by Abhishek Pattnaik and directed by Suketu Shah.
(From left) Actors Rakesh Bedi, Anant Mahadevan and Zachary Coffin during rehearsals in Juhu.
Although good friends in real life, Mahadevan and Bedi play warring father-in-laws from two rival countries in the play. The story revolves around a newly married couple, Zubaina Kazmi from Pakistan and Sunny Arora from India, who is in charge of the catering service for the cricket World Cup finals between the two countries, which is to be held at London's Lords Stadium. The situation takes a dramatic turn when their respective fathers Nazir Kazmi (Mahadevan) and Jasjit Arora (Bedi) land up unannounced at their London home. "The cricket lovers that they are, both have only one wish — a ticket to the World Cup finals. Unfortunately, all tickets are sold out. That's when the comedy of errors begins," says Bedi, who plays a fun-loving Punjabi who runs a dhaba in Amritsar. In sharp contrast to Bedi's character is Nazir Kazmi played by Mahadevan. "I play an honest Pakistani professor who harps on the fact that he always wants the truth. The role reminds me of the kind that Balraj Sahni used to play," says Mahadevan. For the role, he had to brush up on his Urdu and learn the legendary Pakistani lihaaz. "Fortunately, I have taken Hindi seriously since school days. Reading a lot of Urdu plays, ghazals and shayari helped. I've worked on polishing it because nobody would stomach Urdu being spoken wrong by a South Indian," he laughs.
For Bedi, the USP of the play was its endearing story line which is peppered with humour. "We had a lot of fun rehearsing because it's such a fun plot with cricket as a subject. It's shaped up well." Interestingly, the play also uses cricket as a metaphor for life. "There comes a time when you are faced with the last over in life and you have to score a lot of runs and make amends for all that you've done in the previous overs. But the question is, will you be able to meet that target or will you lose the match of life. The play tackles the same issue," says Mahadevan.
When: July 9, 5 PM
Where: Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir, St Theresa Road, Bandra (West)
Cost: Rs 500 to Rs 1,000