‘Some Times is for anybody and everybody, as long as they’re open-minded. Oh, and there are some jokes about Japanese folk – so maybe not them,’ shares scriptwriter Bobby Nagra, who has recently co-written Akvarious Productions’ latest show, Some Times with writer Adhir Bhat. It’s a play about an ordinary guy, Paramjit Singh Duggal aka Pammi aka Doggie aka Parmeetay and his interesting nightlife that supposedly challenges to put ‘Batman to shame’. It’s a play about his mother who dreams of having a house one day clamouring with high-pitch yet endearing sounds of grandchildren. It’s a play about his communist-worshipping father, about his love-obsessed girlfriend and his boss who wants ‘way too much and pays too little’. ‘Basically Some Times is three days in the life of a regular guy. We see almost repetitive episodes with his family, his friends, his work, his girlfriend, but in each case, or on each day, he is different, owing to circumstances,’ elucidates Adhir. Known for their previous creation, Jumpstart, we caught up with the two scriptwriters who tell us more about their new play…
How did the story come about? Adhir: The concept came from Akarsh on a train ride from Dehradun to Delhi. Adhaar, who is the director and Akarsh’s 24-year-old brother, was the inspiration. Akarsh was discussing how there are now generation gaps between brothers. And how lifestyles are changing. We felt old, just talking about how youngsters today are. And he came up with this idea, of finding the humour in the angst of today’s youth.
So why does the lead character have so many nicknames? Adhir: Everyone has nicknames. I come from a boarding school set-up. In my school, Welham Boys, people got nicknames for how they look, what they ate, what their father’s name was or how fat their mother was. Cruel, but true. I still remember one boy was called Kimi all throughout school ‘coz it was his mom’s name. Another kid was called TJ (Tedhi Joodi) because his turban tilted more to the right. One boy was simply called Papa, because he had too much hair and looked older than all the other boys… So I’m fascinated with nicknames, and try to use them as much as possible. I don’t think it’s demeaning at all. Only when you are close to people do you take the liberty of calling them something that no one else does. Nicknames show closeness, unless coming from a sadist boss. Bobby: It’s always fascinated me how names are transformed when turned into nicknames. Like, Duggal becomes Doggie in our play. Or Harish Patel becomes Herpes. Then of course, there are the unrelated ones. Like Adhir is called Golu at his house, even though he isn’t round at all.
A typical day in Paramjit’s life? Adhir: Paramjit lives with his folks. He meets them only in the morning at the breakfast table, which is usually a time of dealing with pent up issues for the family. He works at an advertising firm with a horrible boss. He meets his girlfriend after work at their favourite cafe. He hangs with his friends around dinner time – drinking, smoking pot. And he parties hard at night, till rather late. All the symptoms of an early burn out!
You carve out unconventional characters with endearing idiosyncrasies. Are these characters inspired by people you observe around you? Adhir: I guess so. I am fascinated by the not-so-normal. Normal is boring to me. Eccentricities stand out to me, and I remember them. In fact when I meet people, I try and remember what’s weird about them. I had a very interesting uncle – a friend of my dad. He used to drink everyday. I’m from Kashmir, and during militancy, when militants in Kashmir banned alcohol, he transferred his whole stock of booze into small boxes that pumped out mitti-ka-tel. I find that an endearing sight… a middle aged Muslim man, risking his life, pumping booze out of a dabba every night after sundown. Bobby: One of my friends had a mother who rode a Bullet. Now I found that so funny, I’ve never forgotten it. A housewife, coming to school to meet her kid, on a Bullet, sometimes in a nightie. Things like this excite me. I worked briefly on a graphic novel called Bhabhi Bullet, which had her as a crime-fighting vigilante. The villains were vegetable sellers. I may revive it. Our world is full of interesting people, and as writers we must use them.
What can the audience look forward to from Some Times? Adhir: Audiences can expect constant laughs in Some Times, yet at the end they are forced to think. It’s not just an absolute comedy. It talks about things that we all relate to… friends, family and work… but in a way you usually never see on stage. And it’s very true to life. Adhaar Khurana, the director, comes from this world, and he has brought in a lot of little things that just make stuff so relatable. I can assure you that people will go out of the theatre smiling._
The Comedy Store, Mumbai raises its curtains for Some Times on 27th June at 8:30pm.
Director Adhaar Khurana
Writers Adhir Bhat & Bobby Nagra
Cast Karan Pandit, Sarang Sathaye, Kashin Shetty, Shruti Vyas and others