It seriously is so funny

It seriously is so funny

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The Pierrot’s Group’s rendition of Bade Bhai Sahab–a tale of two brothers, makes you laugh your head off.

Big brother : Actor Dr M Sayeed Alam as Kamta Prasad.

Most of us would remember having read Munshi Premchand’s short story Bade Bhai Sahab in Hindi text books in school. The story, set in pre-independence India, is a serious narration of the lives of two school going brothers and the relationship between them.

However, it is to the credit of acclaimed theatre group Pierrot’s Troupe, to have transformed the sober Hindi story into a hilarious Hinglish play, to suit the taste of today’s audience.

In an hour-and-a-half of a thoroughly entertaining adaptation of the story, the troupe performed the Bade Bhai Sahab at the Alliance Francaise de Delhi recently. With a brilliantly comical script and able direction by husband-wife duo Niti Phool and Dr M Sayeed Alam, the jokes kept coming in and the audience could just not stop laughing.

The story, set in a boys’ hostel room in India in 1932, revolves around two young brothers Samta Prasad and Kamta Prasad. Samta, 13 is a student of Std VI, while Kamta Prasad, 16 studies in Std IX. The problem arises when the latter, being the elder brother, sets out to teach Samta to help him with his exams.

Bade Bhai Sahab or big brother in English has strange ways of teaching his younger sibling. He asks Samta to not only rote tables in maths, but also recite them without “breaking breath”.

He goes by ‘strict discipline’ and believes in ‘no playing and only studying’. On the other hand, little Samta loves sports and is always looking for opportunities to escape the strict regimen of his brother.

The twist in the tale comes when, after a year of rigorous rebuking and scolding by the elder brother, Samta tops his class, while Kamta fails. Eventually, after consecutive years of failing by Kamta, and the promotion of Samta, they reach the same standard.

The original story is serious in nature, but Pierrot’s has made it thoroughly comical over the years. In the play, Kamta asks Samta to speak to him in English all the time to learn the language better. But with his own broken English, hilarious lines arise. “Do not go outside, it is very nighty”, “I am well but my brother is in well” and “If you do not study, all you classmates will pass away, only you will not pass away” are some of the gems.  
Niti, the scriptwriter and director of the play says, “The play was originally performed only in Hindi and Urdu. Then we decided to do it in English as well. Here we got the idea to combine the two languages to come out with something very funny.

Sometimes we Indians want to say something in English, but it comes out in a very Hinglish way.”

The other innovation added to the play by Pierrot’s is the introduction of the 80-year-old Samta who narrates the whole story to the audience. His role is perfectly essayed by Ekant Kaul, while Ram Naresh Diwakar as the young Samta and scriptwriter and director Sayeed himself as Kamta do a brilliant job.

The play is highly recommended to anybody looking for a good laugh, but a word of caution: If you forget your own English by the end of the play, do not blame the writers.

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