Play: The Siddhus Of Upper Juhu

Apr 30, 2015, 16:35 IST

Directed by Rahul DaCunha
Cast: Rajit Kapur, Shernaz Patel, Shishir Sharma, Meera Khurana, Kajli Sharma

My first abode in Mumbai was a 250 square-feet living room in Bandra that I shared with four other girls. It was a PG run by a professor at a reputed college in the suburb. The 1 BHK apartment had 10 occupants in all—her family members and the five of us. All my roommates were teenaged students; I was the only employed tenant. But I didn't complain. I wanted to stay in Bandra, partly because I was told that it was the hippest part of the city, and partly because I wanted to show off. Like most outsiders, I deleted the memory of my very own spacious bedroom back home and joined the community of 'Bandra snobs'. I'd spent nights awake because my roommates were busy preparing for exams the next day, wake up early thanks to auto rickshaw honks downstairs, strategise to get to the bathroom before everyone else woke up, and take great pride in telling everyone that I lived in Bandra.

It took me three years to finally understand that Bandra wasn't going to have a happily-ever-after affair with my salary account. I swallowed my pride and moved to a godforsaken area in Sion. It's a different thing that I eventually fell in love with my current rented home, all spruced up with second-hand treasures that I picked up from every nook and corner in this city.

Watching Balvinder (Bubbles) Siddhu pacing up and down in his upscale apartment in 'Upper Juhu' (because it sounds more posh than 'Andheri'), tormented by urban chaos, I was reminded of my first few months in Mumbai. The Siddhus Of Upper Juhu is the story of Bubbles (Rajit Kapur), a 50-year-old, well-paid financial executive, and his lovely Parsi wife, Behroze (Shernaz Patel), trying to make sense of this chaotic city. Their 14th floor apartment in Sea View Towers barely offers them a glimpse of the sea, outstretched miles ahead. Bubbles rues that the paper thin walls didn't deserve his life's savings. Neither did he sign up to be tormented by pesky neighbours, noisy BMC drilling, stink of garbage or the endless hullabaloo of this unsleeping city.


Bubbles faces an existential crisis, as he loses his job all of a sudden and his house is robbed. What happens next is something that happens to the best of us. Even as Behroze tries to calm him down, Bubbles turns utterly paranoid. The play takes a tragi-comedy turn hereon. In a bid to steer him to normalcy, Behroze makes SOS calls to his rich, farm-owning brother Sunny in Delhi and his sisters Pammi and Shammi from Ludhiana. What ensues is a string of laugh-out-loud and introspective moments, even as some of the family's deepest secrets come tumbling out.

You begin to sympathise with the talented Rajit Kapur from act one, scene one. Shernaz, as the loving, calculating (sometimes manipulative) wife, gets you to root for her till the end. The denouement makes your reflect on the many issues wracking Mumbai from inside out. You wonder, along with Bubbles and Behroze, if it's really worth it to spend every penny of your savings into a home that never quite lets you feel at home. And yet, it is essentially a narrative on Mumbai—a city that lets you dream, makes you work hard, throws you off with its insensitivity and generosity in equal parts. The play strikes a chord with every middle-class Mumbaikar that flocks to the city to make a living. The question lingers: at what cost?

A Rage Production play, The Siddhus Of Upper Juhu, is presented by Aadyam, an initiative by the Aditya Birla Group. Watch the play on May 2 and 3, 7.30 pm, at Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point, Mumbai.