Words Wal Reid

“Its Bollywood-Kiwi vibe, helped make it more palatable to those of us less attuned to the theatrical.”

Bollywood has always been admired for not looking to its western counterparts for inspiration and direction. It’s one of the most successful & largest film industries in the world, plus, also a devilishly clever portmanteau.

Legendary Bollywood director Rakesh Ramsey has died in the middle of shooting his latest (Western)film, Dust of the Delhi Plains, so now, the Q Theatre audience are enrolled, and get to play the extras in the film. As they say, “The show must go on”.

Kiwi playwright, Ahi Karunaharan’s (A Fine Balance) latest offering, takes the audience on a magical time-machine journey. Set in 1970’s Bombay at the height of Bollywood’s inception; the ostentatious sets and not to mention, the on-set calamity, are farcically and entertainingly explored. This is a movie set after all, and Karunaharan sets out with his young cast, to debunk the idea that making a Bollywood Western is all glamour – a task, that turns out, is easier said than done.

The cast are gifted. Each playing their part with the fervour and craft their character demands, all adding to the onstage melee. Mustaq Missouri as frustrated director Manjit is hilarious to watch. His facials and manic gait, had his character warm to the audience as he tries to steer the cast (of one) to fulfil Rakesh’s legacy.

Actress Rashmi Pilapitiya is fabulous as the diva-esque Ranikumari. The (once) legendary actress returns to help finish the beleaguered film. Her comedic timing has a pompous Julie Andrews finesse. She is adamant the film must continue on with her at the helm, even when she is demanding a make up person.

Ramsey’s two children, Roshan and Kamala, are convincingly played by Mayen Mehta & Sanaya Doctor, both vying for the director’s chair. Their theatrical sibling rivalry is incredibly convincing, each with opposing views, it’s a wonder the film gets completed. Shankar (Shaan Kesha) plays the loveable rogue, the unsung hero and ‘yes’ man, who with good intentions ends up making a hash of things. His talents however, don’t go unnoticed, even his dancing.

My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak nicely showcases the comedic side of a Western Movie. Its Bollywood-Kiwi vibe, helped make it more palatable to those of us less attuned to the theatrical, while the cast are more than apt to carrying the show from start to climatic end. The only quibble I had, was the opening of the show which at times seemed lengthy. The first half meandered its way, patchy in conveying its intention to the audience. It wasn’t maybe as seamless as it could have been. However, the second part was tighter, punchier, the scenes indefectible as the audience arrived at its grandiose finale.

If you like an epic desi western with all the trappings: magnificent landscapes, gunfights on horseback, saloon bars and bounty-hunters, then Rakesh Ramsey’s latest film, Dust of the Delhi Plains, is just the ticket. Oh, they are currently recruiting extras, so get along to play your part. In the words of ex British Prime Minister, John Major, it was “most agreeable.”

My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak is on at The Q Theatre until Sunday 14th December.