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Bollywood with a hint of Trini
Slowly through the fog Soca Monarch “Superblue Granny” emerged as chants of “Super, Super, Super” resounded on Friday night at the south premiere of DC Shell Theatre’s presentation of Bollywood blockbuster Kal Ho Na Ho at the Naparima Bowl.
Superblue Granny (Nicole “Latoya” Farrell,) dressed all in blue with a feathered headpiece for her bandanna, rocked the house as she performed Superblue’s 2013 Road March hit Fantastic Friday before a sold-out crowd at the San Fernando venue.
She was just one of the unique characters that added local flavour to the theatrical performance of the 2003 Bollywood mega-hit which, when translated, means, There May Or May Not Be A Tomorrow. For the most part the play, which was adapted and directed by Crazy Catholic (Sheldon Narine), stuck to the original plot and soundtrack of the Nikhil Advani directed-movie.
However, it would not be a true DC Shell Theatre production without some political picong, Trini music or 80’s hits. Quips about the “Flying Squad fiasco,” rising fish prices and the Highway Re-Route Movement peppered the play, which was a unique love story centred on Naina (Rebecca Elias), her first love Aman (Dese Simon) and her best friend, Rohit (Christopher Singh).
In the play Aman helps Naina find love before he dies. From the opening monologue one could easily tell it was not going to a typical Bollywood remake as Narine, quickly accepted a dinner invitation saying: “Tell Kublalsingh I not fasting, let them build the highway.”
The play featured an ensemble cast of 22 actors including Farrell, Crazy Catholic, Dese Simon, Prince Priceless, Samarah Kadir, Shelci Marie, Chris Singh, Nola Leacock, Sherry Ann Goindhan, Keith Samaru, Saleem Karim, Narsha Chirkut, Amanda Salim, Sensational Shelly, the Crazy Contagious Crew, the Comedy Circus and D C Shell Actors. Simon’s portrayal of Aman’s death scene was near flawless.
It was emotionally enhanced by the lighting design from Celia Wells and the set design and costuming from Cindy Rodriguez. The humourous interludes from the emotional plot was also well received by the audience. One particular quip that erupted in laughter was a business discussion between Narine’s character, Chadda Uncle and Rohit’s father.
“Bhaigan and melongene... same thing, bandaiya and chadon beni...same thing, PNM and UNC... same thing,” Chadda Uncle declared.
Narine, speaking to the T&T Guardian following the play, said he was thrilled by the response to the play. “This was the first time I brought back this play since I first did it five years ago. “I felt that I never gave it justice when I did it and I was happy with the response. I will be taking it to Napa (National Academy for the Performing Arts) Port-of-Spain for the Indian Arrival Day holiday,” Narine said. The show, he said will be held on May 29 and 30 from 5 pm. Narine said the theatre group will be presenting Treasure Island, Pirates in the West Indies with Learie Joseph, George Gonsalves and Crazy Catholic on April 4.
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