Spontaneous Combustion-Buckingham Secret, a Play

Spontaneous Combustion–Buckingham Secret at NCPA

JULY 2, 2017, MUMBAI


An innocent theatre novice like me was duly impressed by the Tata Theatre at NCPA. The building housing the NCPA is placed so prominently much like the Sydney Opera House at the edge of land reclaimed from the sea at Nariman Point.

One good thing that I did or omitted to do, thankfully, was read up on the play. I really expected a boring Palace murder mystery. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised at being hit smack in the face by this unique genre of theatre–Parsee Gujarati.

The well dressed people and the tea and snacks counter reminded me of Chandigarh in the 1960s when people went so enthusiastically to see the one English movie show per week in the evening at Jagat Cinema.

It is a big theatre hall and the centre seats facing the stage filled up quickly but the wings remained rather empty. The glass I would say was more than half full. The cast of actors will always be stellar for me after this performance.

I must admit that I was looking as much at the audience as at the stage. I was pleasantly surprised to find such rip-roarious laughter at the Parsee-Gujarati jokes especially the women I could see loved them. The audience reaction can only be called Spontaneous Combustion Laughter. The hall goes up in a roar as if someone had hit a sixer at the punch lines.  Danesh Irani is superb as Prince Phillip and so is Meherzad Patel as the Butler.Sabira Merchant of course is superb as the queen and I loved her bright yellow, blue and red dresses so Elizabethan II. Everyone did justice to their assigned place in the British royal family. I would not like to say more in order not to reveal the gems of surprise hidden in the play Buckingham Secret. A must see.



Summer Solstice Thought

A rare two rupee note.
A rare two rupee note. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer Solstice thinking: when I was a toddler my grandmother would always call Christmas a ‘Badaa Din.’ I thought then that she meant Long Day or ‘Big Day.’ I always thought it described the length of the day but today it dawned upon me she meant a big day for the former white rulers of India. She as a young girl had seen the days of Empire under Queen Victoria,  or the Mallka (Empress). She had lived through an era ruled by King George V and King George VI. She was definitely aware of Queen Elizabeth.

I also used to wonder ‘how this day can be long when it gets dark so early on the 25th of December?’ Thus on June 21 of 2013 I have figured out what a simple phrase meant ‘Bade din kee chhootian’ was nothing more than Christmas Holidays and not as I confusedly thought ‘holidays of the long days.’