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@Simla Coffee House!

Jun 12, 2017

Rakesh Bedi’s Simla Coffee House is not just unfolding of a fascinating plot. Set in a coffee house, as the name suggests where Mr Bedi plays waiter Satish Kashyap’s role. An exceptional cast lifts the theme way beyond the semi-rustic backdrop where novelist Anup Chander generally parks himself and builds on his magnum opus ‘Tere Chhall’. A runaway success and a bestseller. Every moment of the one and a half hour drama is gripping, with plenty of hilarity. It’s been labelled as a psycho comic.

The story ignites slowly in a placid environment. The waiter as well as the author in ‘residence’ warm up to each other in a rather amusing fashion. Over inquisitiveness, ‘pregnant’ pauses, interesting glimpses and insights… As the plot thickens – plain curiosity turns into shades of cheeky. Streaks of insanity begin to dominate with the arrival of a troubled reader. He is factually better informed on all the stuff the author has ever put together! The unfolding life and times of protagonist Tarun Mathur mirror his own.

A dose of anxiety gets injected as near lunacy begins to overtake. The fanatic fan Rahul Verma, played by Asif Sheikh, seems hell bent on subverting the storyline. Like a nasty malware he is on seize. That literally turns the anxiety of viewers into annoyance. Anup Chander, characterised by SM Zaheer, ends up far more exasperated than flattered given the demands of a nasty fan. The flashbacks from Tarun Mathur’s biography virtually put the audience on a pendulum swing. Versatile Nivedita Baunthiyal dramatises the oscillation from Tarun Mathur to Rahul Verma’s ‘battered half’ successfully.

In authoring the script and directing the play – Rakesh Bedi finally drops his ‘funny guy’ mask that he seems to have forever worn on the stage, small and big screens. Here he very deftly explores the interplay between what seems to be a story teller script’s influence on the life of its characters and how they in turn literally walk away from it! Do they? And it is Rakesh Bedi who eventually comes out shining thanks to his versatility. Being in the front rows at the Prithvi does feel like a fly on the wall of the coffee house. A true jewel showcased recently to commemorate the IPTA anniversary.

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