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Hindi Manch Event Proves Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Pratibha Krishnamurthy

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

The Rain Gods blessing the Boston area with gloomy and edgy weather this spring took a day off on the 28th of April when New England Hindi Manch held one of their annual events, “Ek haseen sham hasne hasaane ke naam”, and blessed us with a morning full of sunshine and an evening full of comedy and laughter. This program which celebrates local talent and humor in the forms of poetry, stand-up comedy, plays and skits was held at the Diamond Middle School in Lexington, MA, and was attended by over 500 people from the area with the tickets completely sold-out. Building up on its success last year, this year’s program featured some more items, and showcased the rich talent within the Indian American community in various forms.

The event was inaugurated by Sushil Tuli, President and Chairman of Leader Bank, Arlington, MA and the program was beautifully anchored by Jharna Madan, Smitha Bharadwaj and Preetesh Shrivastava. The beginning half of the program included a couple of stand-up comedy routines, and the staging of a comedy play named “Mirchi Cola”. Mirchi Cola is based on a book by the same name, which is the first book to be published by Hindi Manch Prakashan and is written by Preetesh Shrivastava, who is also the president and one of the founding members of Hindi Manch. The book was released by Sushil Tuli, and this inauguration was followed by the staging of the play for the first time.

True to its name, the play was spicy, flavorful, indulgent and delightful, and left the audience craving for more. Set in a restaurant, the play depicted how the protagonists’ paths cross one day, leading to uproarious situations and riotous comedy. The audience waited with baited breath for the surprising climax of the play, and at the end showered appreciation on the cast members and the others involved in the production and development of the play. The play was directed by the prolific Mohan Dali, who is revered by theater lovers in and outside the Boston area, with the assistance of Preetesh Shrivastava. The stage was beautifully designed and set-up by Parag Sane, Shrinivas Sane, Ameya Joshi and Abhi, and the sound and music given by Anish Khanzode and Jawed Wahid weaved magic, and without missing a beat, gave the play its authenticity. Adding to the magic were Seema Agarwal who perfectly coordinated props for the play and Mailini Varadarajan and Ruchika Arora who coordinated makeup and costumes. Finally,
the cast members who include Alok Asoor, Ajay Jain, Shweta Arora, Sanjay Jain, Gopika Narula, Ajay Jaisingh, Pratibha Krishnamurthy, Anindya Mishra, Anupam Wali, Sridhar Pola, Chirag Parikh and Subodh Shetty kept everyone in stitches with their amazing acting skills and comic timings. In short, a treat for all theater lovers! For those who missed the show, there is some solace in the form of photography by Darpan Dand, and the book Mirchi Cola and DVDs of the play, both of which are available for purchase.

The second half of the program was just as relishing, where against a beautiful backdrop designed by Rohini Pola and Sneh Jaisingh, stand-up comedy routines were performed by various artistes including Sudhanshu Mishra, Ali Rizvi, Manaswi Sharma, Shekhar Shastri, Eshani Shah, Sridhar Pola and Preetesh Shrivastava. They delighted the audience their poetry and keen insight – always a perfect recipe for good comedy. They also impressed people with their excellent command over the Hindi language, hence realizing one of the major objectives of the Hindi Manch organization. This dedication to the language was also recognized through awards and appreciations – HARI, and organization based in RI, received the Award for Excellence for their noble contribution, and the award was presented to them by the founding members of Hindi Manch, including Mohan Dali, Pradeep Shukla, Shubha Chungi, Chaitanya Godsay and Preetesh Shrivastava. Speaking on the event, the vice-president of Hindi Manch, Chaitanya Godsay highlighted the work done by organizations like Hindi Manch and HARI, and congratulated them for their successes. In addition to this award, Hindi Manch presented Certificates of Appreciation to Deepali Khanzode for her translation of Marathi plays into Hindi and Sulekha Rao for teaching. These awards were presented to them by the remarkable Dr. Manju Sheth, who is a well-known community leader of the area.

Interspersed among these were short skits and enactment of jokes by Swati Sane, Java Mehta Joshi, Hetal Joshi, Jigna Parikh, Gayatri Aryan, Satish Palayum and Ashish Shah. The performance by these actors helped in raising the bar for such skits everywhere; and despite their short durations, the skits packed a punch and generated a lot of laughter. Towards the end of this scrumptious buffet was the much awaited dessert, provided by Ranjani Saigal and Anil Saigal of Lokvani, who debuted together on stage with an amazing comedy routine, which was greatly appreciated by everyone.

This savory event by Hindi Manch hence went a long way in realizing its stated mission of propagating the Hindi language. Continuing on this, Hindi Manch will present its next program, the very popular “New England SaReGaMaPa” on the 30th of June, 2012. So don’t forget to mark your calendars!


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