Music by Ayub Khan Din and Paul Bogaev
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
There are only five more opportunities to see “Bunty Berman Presents” presented by The New Group at the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row through Saturday June 1, 2013. Ayub Khan Din’s new musical counterpoints traditional Bollywood music and dance with its more traditional Euro-American cinematic counterparts as it carefully unfolds the story of film producer Bunty Berman (Ayub Khan Din)who is facing a crisis of truly epic proportions. Berman’s audience share is dwindling and he does not have enough capital to finish the movies planned for release. Part of Berman’s problem is his longtime friend and leading man Raj Dhawan (Sorab Wadia) who is far past his prime and refuses to step down.
Interesting conflicts drive interesting plots in this charming musical and all these plots collide in a pleasing climax. Bunty Berman slowly realizes he does not need a mobster investor to make things work: Berman just needs to look around and see he has all the resources he needs in his adoring assistant Dolly (Gayton Scott), the talented tea boy Saleem (Nick Choksi), and Saleem’s love interest Shambervi (Lipica Shah). Once Berman accepts this good fortune, everything is in place to finally “Make a Movie.”
“Bunty Berman Presents” is much more than a Bollywood spoof: this musical is an extended metaphor for discovering the power of unconditional and nonjudgmental love. The audience can best appreciate what Ayub Khan Din was attempting to accomplish by just sitting back and enjoying the sights, sounds, movie history allusions, and the wonder of the theatre.