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The Great Indian Wedding

Tuesday, April 04, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

Bharat Dabholkar’s 'Blame It On Yashraj', had its hundredth show last weekend—making it one of the most successful English plays in recent times. This Ashvin Gidwani production has travelled extensively all over the country and several international destinations too, which goes to show that the Great Indian Wedding still hasn’t lost its grip on audiences, whether on stage or screen.

Ever since the overblown ‘wedding video’ that was 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' became a blockbuster, the Indian wedding has become a popular plot device, or at least, backdrop, for a succession of Bollywood movies. It’s surprising that mainstream theatre did not pick up the trend as much—it has scope for song-and-dance, romance, emotions and comedy.

The play says in a cheeky slide that Indian weddings are not just big and fat, they are obese. In 'Blame It On Yashraj' a Hindu girl falling in love with a Muslim boy, causes a small tsunami in both families. Add to that the band-baaja-baraat of an extravagant wedding and audiences are lapping it up.

The play, inspired by the Hollywood film, 'Father of the Bride', pokes fun at the stereotypical notions that people have of other communities. When Bandra resident, the upper-class Punjabi Mr. Tandon (Ananth Mahadevan) learns that his daughter (Aanchal Sachdeva) wants to marry a Muslim (Punit Tejwani), he immediately has a nightmare with a group of black-clad terrorists laying siege to his home. His Bengali wife (Jayati Bhatia) and teenage son (Neel Gagdani) seem to have no serious objections and rather enjoy all the drama.

The groom’s wealthy family are far from what Tandon imagined and it is Dabholkar’s way of teaching people not to have pre-conceived notions about other communities. The play is not meant to be a sociological study, however, and spends a lot of its runtime on the exuberant song (composed by Louis Banks) and dance (Hormuzd Khambata) numbers.

What’s amazing is that the cast does not look in the least jaded after a hundred shows—Mahadevan and Gagdani lead in bringing the house down every time.

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