Make sure you don’t miss the clowns at the Shakespeare Comedy Theatre Festival

The Shakespeare Comedy Theatre Festival saw a grand opening in Pune yesterday. Held at the Nehru Memorial Hall, the festival saw huge crowds of literature and theatre lovers. Being a deep-dyed Shakespeare lover myself, there was no way I was going to miss out on this one.

Initially, I was a little skeptical how it would be to watch a Shakespearean tragedy as comedy, especially Hamlet, which is often considered Shakespeare’s most heart-wrenching tragedy. However, that is one thing that got me all the more excited. Having only seen the characters in my head so far, I couldn’t wait for them to come alive on stage; and for the depressed, revenge-driven Hamlet to make me laugh.

The play opened up with a group of clowns arguing over which play to enact. A few minutes of hilarious discussion later, they finally decide on Hamlet. The first scene of the play is the one where Hamlet is depressed after attending his father’s funeral and finding out about his mother’s remarriage to his uncle. Soon after, it moves on to the scene  where the King’s ghost tells Hamlet how his death was a murder and who was responsible for it. The clowns then enact The Mousetrap, Ophelia’s drowning, the fencing match, the fall of the Queen, and we all know how Hamlet ends right?

Needless to say, all the actors in the play – Mr. Vinay Pathak, Rachel D’souza, Neil Bhoopalam, Namit Das, Sujay Saple, and Puja Sarup have delivered beautiful performances. I especially liked the way the actors interacted with the audience and made them feel a part of it, a power that theatre enjoys over cinema. Rajat Kapoor’s brilliant direction, along with the perfect balance of tragedy and comedy makes the play a must-watch. The play is so well constructed that even those who have not read Hamlet can enjoy it with a lot of ease.

So don’t hold yourself back depending on whether or not you are a Shakespeare lover. You can enjoy this adaptation more as an amateur I would say. Because the play can very well be someone’s gateway into the world of Shakespeare.

Thank you, dear clowns, for letting us enjoy the wonderful work of Shakespeare once again.

I am afraid there may be only a few tickets available for the Punekars now. However, enthusiasts from other cities may book their tickets here: https://in.bookmyshow.com/special/shakespeare-comedy-theatre-festival#

 

 

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Sukanta, Deccan

What: Restaurant
Where: Deccan
Seating: Indoor
Cuisine: Maharashtrian Thali
Pricing: Slightly Expensive
Parking: Available, Valet

It was high time for me to visit Sukanta; I had been hearing all about it from friends, old colleagues, and even from all the aajis and ajobas in the park. After an hour long discussion of where to have lunch, we decided to head to Sukanta this Sankrant.

Needless to say, we were greeted by huge crowds outside the restaurant. But given the popularity, I was already expecting that. What I was in fact amazed by was the public address system 😀 , that was pretty amusing.

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The Sankrant Naivedya

Like any other thali place that I have been to, this one too, was noisy and overcrowded, with too much going on. They always feel like someone has on a time-lapse mode. And the table right next to washing area made matters worse for us.

Nevertheless, I was still very excited to taste one of the most popular thalis in the city. It being Sankrant, we were all greeted with til-gul first. Once they started serving, I felt like it was never going to stop. There was farsaan, two types of salads, a variety of sabjis, chapati and bhakri and sweets and what not on our plates.

I did not like the way they served though, it was more like throwing food on our plates, than serving it. It’s the same at all thali places you would say, but no, Durvankur, which is just as crowded, still does a good job at serving the customers. I would also like to add that the staff had various issues going on, and they were not hesitant to make them public either, it was quite unpleasant.

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Anyway, so let me start clockwise,

Aaloo Bhaji- Okay
Paneer – Okay
Valachi Bhaji – Not Okay
Gatte ki sabzi – Not Okay
Kadhi – Yum
Dal – Okay
Sitaphal Rabdi – Delicious
Gajar ka Halwa – Delicious
Bhakri with Gud – Great
Palak Puris – Great
Khandvi – Great
Dahi Wada – Delicious

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All in all, I liked everything on the menu except the sabjis. The masala bhaat, served later, was good too. Sadly though, I felt I’d rather go through all the pain for Durvankur next time (I am sorry, but it’s hard not to mention the best). This one was not worth the wait.

Bengali Sweets and Foods Shop, Viman Nagar

What: Eatery
Where: Viman Nagar
Pricing: Inexpensive
Cuisine: Bengali
Seating: Indoor, Outdoor

It has not been long since I was introduced to the fine Bengali cuisine, but it is something that I can’t seem to get enough of. Having been a lover of subtle flavors all my life, I guess it was only a matter of time that me and Aloo Posto hit it off. Since then, there has been no looking back for us.

I am totally and completely in love with all the Bengali dishes that I have discovered and experienced until now. The Maachh Bhaat, the Mutton Kosha, the Aloo Bhaja – all very flavorful. And if you are one such lover, you know how difficult it can be to find good Bengali food in the city. Restaurants offering the cuisine are only a handful, and sadly, they are not all that great.

But there’s one place that fails to disappoint me, at least as far as few dishes are concerned. The Bengali Sweets and Foods Shop is a very small eatery in Panama Towers, just adjacent to the Air Force Station in Viman Nagar. Yesterday, the temptation for my favorite Posto+Dal+Bhaja combo urged me to visit again.

And if the combo is what had urged me, doesn’t mean I stop there right? I also tried the Mughlai Paratha this time, which was better than the other Mughlai Parathas that I have had so far, but I am not going to say it was extraordinary either. The Mutton Kosha was just as impressive, the best mutton I’ve tasted in the town I would say.

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Sondesh

Now I know I went a little overboard, but how do you come to a Bengali Sweets Shop and not have sweets? And just so you know, no Bengali meal is complete without a little bit of mishti. So basically, I just played by the rules. 😀 The Gud Roshogulla – heavenly, The Malai Chom Chom –  divine, and the Sondesh – I think no adjective can do justice to the sondesh here, they are indescribably good, you are just going to have to try them yourselves. Just be sure to give the Kheer Kadam a miss though.

And you are going to be damned when you go over and pay the bill … you will be damned to see you had all that food, ALL that delicious food just for a dime. Despite the not-too-fancy seating arrangement and ambience, this is one place you wouldn’t want to miss.

Look What I Found:

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It is a common practice to mould sandesh into a variety of shapes, for example shells (shankhs) or elephants, typically in a Bengali wedding. I stumbled upon this huge fish-shaped sandesh at the restaurant, made on demand for a customer. Now there are two kinds of fish I love, ah well!