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Mandira Bedi Comes To Town With Ballantine’s 10-Act Play Salt & Pepper

Ten stories. Ten lives. Ten minutes each. Salt & Pepper, played out at GD Birla Sabhagar on Saturday and Sunday evening, had you going ROFL one moment and reflecting on the reality of relationships the next.

The 110-minute play directed by Vikranth Pawar, saw on stage Mandira Bedi, Kuki Grewal, Darshan Jariwala and Vikram Kochhar. While all the acts were brilliant, the two that stood out were Giant Wheel and Speed Dating.

In Giant Wheel, Mandira and Darshan play middle-aged protagonists Flavia and Vincent. Set in a fairground in Panjim, the act opens with squinty-eyed and bespectacled Flavia seated on a Ferris wheel, a ride she takes every birthday to conquer her fear of heights. Vincent, a travelling salesman from Bangalore, joins her and the two get talking as the wheel gets stuck mid-air. What follows is Flavia’s non-stop comic chatter that fascinates Vincent — and needless to say, has the audience in splits!

In Speed Dating, Kochhar and Grewal play young working professionals Abhay and Nandita, in search of love. Set in Mumbai, they meet on an online dating portal and describe their loneliness through a series of monologues. The act is performed with chairs lined side by side on stage with spotlights on the two actors. After completing each dialogue, the characters switch chairs till they finally meet face-to-face.

Things are sauced up in Phone Sex — where Kochhar is Rahul. The act opens with Rahul in the shower cubicle and I’m sexy and I know it playing in the background. No points for guessing what “stress-relieving” job Rahul is busy with in the shower when his girlfriend’s constant calls interrupt him. What follows is her attempt at phone sex to “help him in the act”. He’s almost there when she puts him on hold saying, “Hey, hang on, I’ve got another call waiting.” KLPD moment, indeed.

Mandira proved her acting skills yet again as one half of an elderly couple in Countdown. Most of the act has recorded dialogues on what the couple is actually thinking in their head. It leaves you wondering if “freedom and fantasy” before marriage is indeed replaced by “responsibility and reality” later.

Minimalistic props, the backdrop of a city skyline and clever use of lighting made for the perfect setting for Salt & Pepper. And the sprinkling of love, anger, sadness, hope and expectations left us shaken and stirred!

Neha Banka