Massage play review- Laughter is the best massage

Had heard quite a lot about this play Massage. Besides being in the running for quite a few years now, what intrigued me was the concept of one guy playing plays 24 characters. The main protagonist was essayed by Rakesh Bedi, who is more known for his comic roles in Bollywood, but has more to him that just comedy. This play is a testimonial to that.  A seasoned actor in a play written by a seasoned playwright Vijay Tendulkar is a double whammy for any theatre lover. Had missed watching it on a couple of occasions earlier, hence this Sunday when I got to know that Massage was to be staged in Matunga, booked it at the first go.
The play essentially is about the struggle that lakhs of Indians face when they come to the dream city of Mumbai, lured by the prospect of becoming a Bollywood star.
Happy Singh as the name suggests is a happy go lucky guy who comes to Mumbai to chase his dreams of becoming an actor. Starts his struggle with an internship as the 4th assistant director under a typical sleazy Bollywood producer Mr.Kohli. He is quick to understand that only when he gets into Mr Kohli’s good books can his career grow further. Being ever eager to please his boss to fulfil his own dream, happy gets subjected to a funny series of life events that make him learn everything else apart from acting.  Very soon he becomes Kohli’s Man Friday. But then realisation dawns on him soon, that neither is there money nor a career for him as promised in this role. He quits and joins a gym and then finally stumbles upon his true calling as a masseur. The very dramatic turn of events that make love first enter his life, also take it away from him.
Throughout this 2 hour monologue, what makes this character appealing is that one is able to visualise the entire life of Happy Singh unfold on stage. And that is a testament to the spirited and amazing performance that Rakesh Bedi brings on to the table. Right from the sleazy Punjabi producer Kohli to  the watchman at the production house, the stranger at the bus stop, the heroine's desparate mummyji who molests Happy in the music room to the sexy bar girl with her ‘ kya lenge’ step, he switches in and out of these characters with ease and yet ensures they are memorable.
His take on Pandey , the minister’s PA ..as ..otally ..op ..lass! . Well you need to see the play to get this one. For me that was the standout character of the lot. The loudest cheers and roars came for ..andey!
Go for this play Massage. Highly recommended.
 After all Laughter is the best Massage!


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