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Those Indian Guys in D'Arranged Marriage & From India With Love
 
14/06/2005
The Malay Mail
THOSE INDIAN GUYS ARE FUNNY TO THE BONE
By Amir Hafizi

The best way to deal with stereotypes is to make fun of it, and “Those Indian Guys”, Rajeev Varma and Tarun Mohanbhai, were very good at it.

The comedy duo performed D’Arranged Marriage at The Actors Studio last week. Houses were packed, and it was easy to see why.

The one-man play D’Arranged Marriage is easily one of the funniest comedies to hit our shores this year.

Set in New Zealand in the middle of an immigrant Indian community, it tells the story of Sanjay who is pressured by his parents to get married.

Failure to do so would result in him “bringing shame to his dick”.

Sanjay finally relents to one visit to a potential bride, Neenu, who turns out to be the girlfriend of the village idiot Rundeep. Hilarious hi-jinks ensue as Sanjay falls in love with the girl.

The strength of the show was the portrayal of the characters, most of which wouldn’t look lost in an Austin Powers movie.

We have Sanjay’s parents – the pick of the lot – who would start to get amorous at the weirdest moments. They even had a theme song, some sort of a ‘70s porn groove, that indicates that they are aroused and are about to engage in passionate lovemaking.

Then there is the uncle, who takes pride in the much-publicised fact that he has had an extra-marital affair with Neenu’s mother.

Throw in Rundeep, the idiot who can’t stop pointing his fingers as if they were guns, and we have a queer bunch indeed.

At times, Varma (who performs the play alternatively with Mohanbhai) would break into song and dance routines, just like in a Bollywood movie – only much better.

He can certainly dance, highlighting the comedic moments to great effect and taking the play to greater heights than mere dialogue can.

Extremely confident on stage, he had the audience on a string.

The duo also occasionally inserted slide projections in D’Arranged Marriage to good effect – mainly to show some funny pictures of the characters cavorting about in New Zealand. It is always entertaining to see a man with a five o’clock shadow wearing a sari.

The story is a bit weak at times though. For one, Sanjay’s falling for Neenu is sudden and almost unexpected.

The transition of Sanjay from a bit of a cultural rebel to a lovelorn fool was not really smooth. But what was smooth was the transition between the characters. Varma did a good job alternating between each sick and twisted personality, switching from one to the other at will.

A comedy is judged by how well it brought on the laughs, and D’Arranged Marriage did that in abundance.

It’s a shame that its run has ended but Varma and Mohanbhai have another show ahead. It’s a prequel of D’Arranged Marriage. Called From India With Love, the play focuses on Sanjay’s parents and how they came to New Zealand in the 1950s. Judging from that, it may well prove double the fun as both Varma and Mohanbhai star in it.