I finally saw Bharat Dadholkar's Bottoms Up on Saturday, at Jimmy Pcha's Sophia-Bhabha Hall, with an audience the majority of which had seen it at least three times. It ia a show worthy of its success-sexy, funny, outrageous, with some of the prettiest legs in town and some of the firmest leg-pulling of politicians and their establishments.
It is difficult to choose the funniest of several extremely funny skits. Perhaps, the air-hostess with her homely Maharashtrian accent going through the take-off drill. Perhaps, the re-enactment of the popular Doordarshan sponsored programmes or the new jingle campaigns of politicians seeking votes, which probably Rediffusion will be doing next for its client.
The best series of performances of the evening was by Ruby Patel-undoubtedly. Her daughter, I understand, is good, but she is the best. There is a scene of a group of ladies watching a cricket Test on their TV set. It is straight out of early Adi Marzban. And nobody has improved on early Adi Marzban, not even the later Adi Marzban.
I also admired the versatility of my friend Sharad Smart, the Gujarati stage's many splendoured talent.
Versatility, of course, is there in the entire cast. A revue, by its very nature is a repertory company, each actor playing many parts, on stage and behind. Nobody takes himself too seriously, not the producers and the actors, not the audience, perhaps, not even the subjects in the play who are being made fun of from the gentlemen who run those weight-reducing institutions (no diet, no exercise no sweat, no formulae…then pray how?) to Mr. TNT, the chief minister who likes to dress like Swami Vivekananda, to the Parsi community which recently celebrated the wedding of its Prince Edward.
The play is interspersed with music (Louis Banks) and dancing, with Karla Singh as choreographer and principal dancer, plus Thrity Stafford's talented daughter and son, Sunita Rao and our very own Dodo Bhujwala.
And there is the now standard gag, introduced first by Sylvester Da Cunha, or Doordarshan's famous news-readers reading their 9.30 news. I think it must be the most embarrasing job in the world, to be dressed up like a wedding guest and read the most statements possible, night after night.
All in all, an enjoyable evening. Though in the hands of somebody like Alyque Padamsee (come to think of it, only Alyque Padamsee), it could have been more professional, more Zip, more gloss, a faster pace.
Keth Stevenson was not there on Saturday evening. I am told that with him the show improves. But how much more can it improve!