Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Butter and Mashed Banana

Last Sunday I went to watch a play with my brother, D; rather I’d dragged him along with me, without even knowing what it actually was about! All I wanted to do was watch a play, rather than sit at home and get bored on yet another Sunday evening. I anyway looove to go for plays, though I haven’t gotten the opportunity do so very often.
The play was entitled Butter and Mashed Banana enacted by three guys from Banglore (or should I say ‘Bangaluru??!), Nakul Krishna, supported by Arjun Shankar and Ajay Krishnan. It was written and directed by Ajay Krishnan. The day after I had watched the play I got to know that butter and mashed banana were used to grease the hangman’s noose!
This play was a part of the Thespo theatre youth festival, started by Quasar Thakore Padamsee and other 20 some things six years ago.
The evening began first with a platform performance that took place in the parking lot of the NCPA experimental theatre. It was entitled The Dissonant and is described as this, “An individual trapped within the flux of life as an unwilling participant in the struggle. Knowledge renders the ultimate truth within grasp, and then – what then?” Needless to say, I did not get what the playwright was trying to convey. I was thoroughly confused with the goings on, as was D. And when this performance got over we heard several people murmuring, wondering, “what the hell was that all about?” Our puny minds could not grasp what these people were trying to portray.
D gave me a dirty look and asked, “Were you ever bored at any performance that I took you to? How about making inquiries about what we will be watching next time?” And when he read the summary of Butter and Mashed Banana and found out that it was about the battle between the Left and the Right, he looked positively resigned to a boring evening!
Now let me tell you what Nakul Krishna, the actor who plays the protagonist had to say about the play: Consider an alternate universe populated by dour hangmen, radical Hindutva types, Marxist feminists and joyless conformists who live by the Cinematograph Act of 1952. All of whom are all too willing to jump up with a ‘Don’t you dare say that!’ Or maybe this universe isn’t that alternative after all… Butter and Mashed Banana is about getting high on the constitutional freedom of speech that allows us the right to choose irreverence as our drug of choice. And might offend a few along the way. Hopefully.
The play was simply brilliant! It was hilarious and at the same time made sure the point was brought across clearly. It is basically about this boy who is born out of one passionate night shared by his parents, his mother being a feminist, while his father is just the opposite, and how he tries to create his own identity.
The interesting thing about the play was that the actors hardly wore any clothes, and by that I mean that they were dressed only in a ganji/vest and pajamas. And the set design was very minimalist too. It consisted of a bed sheet and a pink tub. The actors broke into song in between to propel the story forward, with Ajay Krishnan strumming on the guitar. The supporting actors also wore ghungroos around their ankles.
One of the funniest sequences had Krishna singing the most controversial song of the late 1990s, ‘Sexy, sexy, sexy mujhe log bole’ (People call me sexy) performed by poor Karisma Kapoor, who was crucified after this song was aired! Krishna sang it in this high-pitched voice, which was just too funny! Another funny sequence was one in which the protagonist writes a best seller (which by the way, never gets released in India, because of its ‘controversial’ subject) and is being interviewed by some journalists. One of the journalists actually asks him much to his bemusement about which brand of shampoo he uses!
Yet another good sequence is where the protagonist receives a call from a guy threatening to kill him because of his book to which he asks, “Didn’t you call yesterday?” And the caller is like, “No! That wasn’t me!” And the protagonist says, “Strange! Someone called up yesterday and said exactly the same thing!” Then the caller says that his book is very offending in nature to which the protagonist replies, “Did you actually read my book?” only to be answered by the engaged tone!
And the scenes where the party in power and the opposition party clamour to get the protagonist to join their respective parties after he announces that he would like to "become a politician" are very humourous. And then when he repudiates both their offers and tries to float his own party, the parties join hands to bring him down! All of this was performed with such humour, not exaggerated humour, but very satirical for sure!
Each and every person sitting in the auditorium enjoyed this play immensely, including D! People were rolling in the aisles listening to the very tongue-in-cheek dialogues!
The very same evening there was as awards ceremony before which a local rock band called 'Helga and the Fun Castle' performed. I don’t care much for hard rock music and this experience has just reinforced my view!
Then the awards ceremony started. And which play swept the awards in almost all categories that it was nominated in? Butter and Mashed Banana of course! It received the awards for best supporting actor, best actor, best director and best story. And to think the first 2-3 ideas of the director, Ajay Krishnan were rejected! And most of the girls/women present fell in love with Nakul Krishna, ‘cause he’s so damn cute! ;) (Ok, he does not look all that great in the pic below!)
There are talks to bring back this play next year when the Kala Ghoda festival will take place (I don’t know exactly when). So those of you, who are in Bombay, should definitely go and watch this play, and take as many people as you can with you!


PuNeEt said...

Me first yeppy...
finally u updated ;-)

Hey me too luv watching plays...
so next time tell me also ;-)
I too dun get much opportunity to take out time...

Buttter and Mashed Banana
sounds great yaar...
nice theme

The interesting thing about the play was that the actors hardly wore any clothes
so was that the reason u went for the play ;-) lolzzz

Sexy, sexy, sexy mujhe log bole’ (People call me sexy) performed by poor Karisma Kapoor
ye ye ye
i remember that song...
later on sexy ws replaced by baby...
how cheap...
n how can KK be Poor... ;-)

yaar I dun have company to watch plays :-(

take care

Manish said...

Great review PR! quite an interesting & enjoyable script :)
In our part of world stage play are a rare occurence. Infact i have never seen a play after my college days:)

niki yokota said...

wooow! looks very interesting!!(*^o^*)
sexy sexy mujhe log bole? lol
ohhh i wish i could have seen it with u!!!!!
thanks a lottttt

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Puneet!
"so was that the reason u went for the play ;-)" -- as I said before, I'd no idea what the play was about, so this cannot be one of the reasons!! lol
You just need to drag someone to go with you!

Hi Manish!
Thanks a lot!
"our part of the world" -- u make it sound like you are living in some different galaxy only!! :))

Hey Niki!
It was an interesting play! You don't see plays in Tokyo?

DalzRulz said...

Hey there, this is one gr8 write up on the play, glad i found it. By the way, the play is on tomorrow (21st Jan 06) @ Prithvi (Juhu) if anyone is interested. Also, another creepy thing...somewhere on my blog, i got the same thing going...LIFE AS I SEE IT. That freaked me out a bit :) So good luck with more plays, feel free to visit my blog, if u wish. byee

Anonymous said...

Dear "Phoenix Rises",

I am glad you found the play watchable.

It was staged again at Prithvi Theatre recently in January and it's being staged yet again at the Kala Ghoda festival on Feb 8 2006 at 7 pm at Horniman Circle gardens.

It's been staged a number of times at Bangalore and once at Pondicherry during the latter half of 2005.

I wish I could see the play with my wife but Nakul Krishna has prohibited us from watching this play.

We respect his feelings and will not attend his performances and instead content ourselves with reading newspaper and magazine reviews and blogs like yours.

Thank you for your kind words about the play. It felt good to read this unsolicited testimonial from an outsider.

I never thought Nakul would be good at this and this whole thing is a pleasant surprise for me and my wife.

G. Vishwanath
HI-Q Design & Detailing Pvt Ltd
(Father of Nakul Krishna who accidently stumbled on to your blog in Cyber space courtesy a Google search for "Butter and mashed banana")

Phoenix Rises said...

Hello Mr. Vishwanath!
You don't really have to thank me for what I wrote becasue I really did enjoy watching "Butter and Mashed Banana". You must be quite proud of your son. I do hope someday he will allow you and your wife to watch him perform. :)

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Life!
Sorry for this really unexplicable delay in replying!
When I read your id, I was like, that sounds familiar, where have I seen that phrase before??! LOL!! That's some coincidence huh?

Divyesh. said...

hey dude. I was part of the THESPO team during 'Butter...' and I was working on backstage.. so I could only hear the amazing response the play got.. I rushed to the KALA GHODA festival two months later n saw it again.. It was the best play I've seen in a long time. coz it has everything you want. plus its the best that theatre has to offer to you.

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Divyesh!
You worked backstage? Coool!
"Butter & Mashed Banana" truly is a play for aour times!

Anonymous said...

Nakul Krishna is an amazing guy. He does everything that is possible to be done. He sings, acts, delivers speeches and is so greatly involved in everything he does that i'm proud to have him as my cousin

Amrita said...

hii, I saw this play at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai, on 14th November and I thought it completely rocked. The trio has put up a great performance

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Amrita!
This play does rock!! I'm just glad that more people are getting to watch it! :D

Phoenix Rises said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ajeeta said...

Hey! this play is coming up in the next few weeks in blr. aft reading ur blog, im all the more interested in watching it... there is another play - "Singaravva and the Palace"... have u heard of it? how is it?

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Ajeeta,
You should watch the play, if you haven't already, seeing that I've replied really late!
I have not heard of Singaravva and the Palace". Is it by the same group of people??

Phoenix Rises said...

Hey Anonymous!
You sure must be proud of your cousin!! :)

Pramod said...

Hey , Thanks...Your reivew popped up When i Searched for the name of the play. I watched the play yesterday at Rangashankara and it's been Amazing. Interesting to know that Butter and Mashed Banana goes in for the preparation of Noose! My Fav is the initial quarrel between CEEPPEY EYE YEM Mother and the Shiv Sena father ..And the whole Dictionary Sequence.


Namrata Maheshwari said...

Hi! I watched the play yesterday. It sure was awesome. By the way, I found the part where the censor board describes certain things very hilarious, guess, you must have missed out on it.

Namrata Maheshwari said...

By the way, what was funny about the CPIM thing in the beginning.. I practically failed to understand why the whole audience was laughing.. :(

Urvashi said...

Hey Namrata! I watched this play 6 years ago, so now I can't really recall the instances you brought up. I'm thinking of watching it once more...