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Cardamom takes a humorous look at Indian weddings

INDIAN marriages are more than just about the union of two individuals. They are as much about the coming together of two families. This forms the storyline of Hasnain Shaikh’s second theatre production, Cardamom. The fragrant spice that the play gets its title from is one of the many things that highlights differences between the two sides — their tastes, culture, and outlook. Giving the plot a contemporary edge, Shaikh has thrown in the boy-meets-girl-on-Tinder angle, in addition to a take on the whole love-versus-arranged marriage debate.
The storyline revolves around the Shankers — the groom’s family, from Mumbai, who travel to the Kumars’ home city, Bengaluru, where the festivities are held. “Forced to cohabitate, they find it hard to adjust to each others’ lifestyles, as the Kumars are traditional, while the Shankers are more modern in their outlook,” explains Shaikh. While one patriarch loves his tea, the other is lactose-intolerant. All these diversities lead to clashes, and a lot of laughs.
It’s taken Shaikh, a writer, director, and actor, two years and five drafts to bring Cardamom on stage. “I wrote it at a time when I was hooked to American TV series, The Office. I think it’s awkward comedy at its finest. Its team deviated from writing punchlines to writing characters that are just really funny. That inspired my writing.”
The 23-year-old gets his interest in the subject from the many wedding films (candid videos of actual weddings) he has watched. Thanks to his brother’s filmmaking company. That’s where he got a peek into the hilarious and hysterical behind-the-scenes instances that crop up during weddings.
Shaikh is also donning the actor’s hat here, in the role of Rishi, the groom’s younger brother. “Rishi is young, so he doesn’t believe in arranged marriages. But he is open to ideas, and tries to bring the two families together,” says Shaikh, the son of Dr Zulfia Shaikh, who runs Bangalore School of Speech and Drama.

August 12-14. At Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield. Tickets (Rs 300) on bookmyshow.com

— Barkha Kumari

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