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March 17, 2015

Theatre Review: The Siddhus of Upper Juhu

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

Find out what the Mumbaikars are talking about from The Siddhus of Upper Juhu

Laughter rang out loud and strong in South Mumbai’s NCPA auditorium – the Siddhus were holding centrestage in Rage’s latest production The Siddhus Of Upper Juhu. Incidentally, The Siddhus of Upper Juhu is the second of the theatrical creations that are being supported by Aadyam this year.

The storyline is simple, set in a Mumbai that residents of the metropolis are bound to instantly identify with. Balvinder (Bubbles) Siddhu (Rajit Kapur) and his wife Behroze (Shernaz Patel) reside on the 14th floor of a building in Upper Juhu. Beset by niggling issues, things spiral out of control when their home is ransacked, Bubbles loses his job and has a nervous breakdown, and Behroze has to get back to work. She makes one phone call to Bubbles’ farm-owning brother, Surinder ‘Paaji’ Siddhu who turns up with the two sisters, Pammi and Smiley, to work out a solution to Bubbles’ problems.

Director Rahul DaCunha has his finger on the pulse of the situations that make modern Mumbai what it is. As the Siddhus’ live out their daily existence in their expensive flat, the director pinpoints issues that ail many homes in Mumbai – paper thin walls, malfunctioning lifts, dry pipes, noisy neighbours, the incessant drone of low-flying aircrafts and the unconscious snobbery in renaming Andheri ‘Upper Juhu’.

As you watch Bubbles and Behroze dealing with mundane issues that become monumental, you are torn between laughing and feeling sorry for them. Right from the moment Bubbles walks out in the dead of night, unable to sleep as the AC has turned his room into an icebox – so what if it was set on medium or high – or when he launches into a diatribe against the two airhostesses – ‘flight attendants’ they yell back – or the several moments he rushes to his small balcony to spout his rage at residents on upper floors or vent his spleen at barking dogs – till the time the curtain falls (metaphorically), you see life in the city in all its detail. So, you chuckle at the inanity of how a notice about there being no water is put in a lift that is not working or how the sight of the sea in a sea-facing apartment is a mere glimpse through other apartment blocks.

While Shishir Sharma as Surinder Siddhu, Kajli Sharma as Parmider and Meera Khurana as Gurinder leave their mark in their cameos, the two leads live their roles to the hilt. You can feel the seesaw of emotions through their dialogue and body language that plays out beautifully against the backdrop of their home. As Bubbles begins to disintegrate, the change is reflected in his attire. (The costumes of the entire cast have been done by Lovleen Bains.)

The dialogue is funny and touching – words flow fast and feelingly as Behroze and Bubbles deal with the growing chaos in their lives. The Siddhus of Upper Juhu is a must-watch for theatre lovers who live in Mumbai…and all those who love Mumbai!

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