When you read or hear "Kitne Aadmi Thhe?", you are instantly transported to a movie that is remembered fondly by all. This phrase would not have held a deep meaning if it weren't spoken by Gabbar Singh all those years ago. Now, 43 years after Sholay, Standby Productions and Shubhangi Kala Mandir have come together to give a new twist to the old popular phrase in a riotous play written by Bhavana Balsaver and rightfully titled Kitne Aadmi Thhe?
What's Kitne Aadmi Thhe? About:
Annie (Bhavana Balsaver) turns her palatial house into a lodge to earn some income and calls it Swarg Se Sundar. She runs the lodge along with manager P.K. (Yaman Chatwal) and the very inefficient Yeshwantrao aka Yesu (Sachin Gersappa). The lodge seems to be running well because all the three rooms are full of guests with inquiries for rooms pouring in. One morning, three guests, Mr. Kapadia (Hormazd Chesan), Ms. Lajwanti (Sheetal Maulik) and Mrs. Shanti De (Jhumma Mitra) cannot wait to try the lodge's special breakfast but a trouble with a rat creates a lot of chaos. Annie, who is scared of losing her hotel license, decides to save the day by hook or by crook, trying to impress the hotel inspector who is one of the guests. To see if she succeeds, you should watch the play.
A veteran of theatre and TV, Shubha Khote, knows her audience and her craft well. She knows what to do get a particular reaction from the audience. The play has a lot of physical comedy which might seem silly and yet make you laugh. She makes sure that something is predictable just the right number of times, to catch you unaware when something unexpected happens. We saw Bhavana Balsaver and Sheetal Maulik together in Gutur Gu on Sab TV last and they bring some of that charm to the stage. It is a delight to watch Sachin Gersappa as Yeshwant, the bumbling employee of Swarg Se Sundar lodge. Hormazd Chesan in his brief role will surely leave you laughing but it is Shubha Khote who steals the performance as a lady who is a little hard of hearing and prefers to not use her hearing aid to save battery. The cast works really well together and that is very important when attempting physical comedy. Yaman Chatwal's character P. K. is the glue which brings the cast together.
What Could Have Been Better:
The play takes some time to pick up the pace, but once it does, your laughter ride won't halt.
Why You Should Watch This Play:
If you are curious enough to see what they have done to this iconic dialogue, you should not hesitate before getting your tickets to their next performance. The cast is known for its excellent comic timing and brings that on the stage. The play will leave you with one question though – Kitne aadmi thhe?
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