Yes, Blame it on Yashraj gives viewers an experience of attending a gala wedding where money is lavishly spent and everyone related to the bride or the groom, whether closely or distantly, feels they are the centre of attention. In the perfumed hall, you are greeted with softly played classical notes on the shehanai. As you wait, a band-baja procession enters from the main gate. The womenfolk slip into the zanana quietly and the bride’s father, attired and excited befitting the occasion, addresses the gathering.
You feel important too. The line at the bottom of the card said, ‘Only chandlo. No blessings.’ A few attendees were of course privileged and were there only with blessings. The rest had paid a hefty chandlo. All of them waited expectantly – waited to see what kind of entertainment this popular Ashvin Gidwani production from Mumbai, brought to them by Stage Maza and Coconut Event at the G U Convention Centre would offer.
With Bharat Dabholkar’s signature dialogues it is entertainment with no holds barred all the way. He has tapped verbal play, hilariously improvised situations, exposed omnipresent vanity, generously thrown in slapstick, with Lous Banks’ music parodied Bollywood songs (like mummy badanaam hui…) and sensuous if not titillating dance numbers, has a dig at the notion of wedding planning (the bride’s father is ready to sell off part of his property for the floral decoration suggested). Surprising, with such felicity he has had, Dabholkar can’t resist getting a character telling comic anecdotes. Mandatory, perhaps, in dramatic productions in Mumbai!
The play, directed by Dabholkar himself, has flashes of a serious undercurrent when it seems to laugh at attitudes of us all that show up on an occasion like this. This streak, based on observation, in a way holds in balance popular entertainment that the play is packed with. With the focus on giving the viewer full worth of their money, however, it remains a theatre entertainer and remains far away from a play like Karnard’s where entertainment is neither glitzy nor in the driver’s seat.
The producer and the writer-director have no pretentions to presenting a serious drama either. They keep the viewer in good humour all through. Even if in passing they do create a dramatic contrast in which Anant Mahadevan as the girl’s father develops mock-serious responses and discourses. Jayati Bhatia as her mother never for a moment appears a misfit in any situation – an accommodating stereotype! And yes, the Punjabi and Bengali families of the parents gallantly weather the storm their daughter has let in by announcing she is going to marry a Muslim boy. Blast!
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