Yes Show

Published On: 2012-05-10

Author: unknown

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Yes Show

MUMBAI: It is 7.10 Saturday night, and back-stage at the Jamshed Bhabha Opera House, there is an atmosphere of coiled anticipation. Shiamak Davar is holding up his hands, to show anyone who cares, how they are trembling, even as assistant Shakun sprays the showman with an industrial size dose of Davidoff's Cool Water and then enough hair fastener to capture a herd of wild elephants. Outside, the all-girl team of set managers from On-Cue Productions in regulatory black are fine-tuning the last-minute preparations for the last time. Four hundred costume changes, a set that weighs 500 kilos, over 60 performers..you want numbers..you got numbers. 

For tonight, this night of a thousand stars, is the last night, the grand finale of ``Yes'', the show presented by Bombay Times, that for the last week has caught the city by its short and curlies. In the audience, Neerav Bajaj, all of ten, grins through his braces. He's been here before. And, along with the city's babalog brigade - the Akashs and Anmols, the Raajs and Aathiyas and the Palomas and Aalikas - he's here to throw his weight behind Shiamak, and shake his bon-bon with the best of them. And tonight, the best of them are here: Hrithik Roshan, all six feet of sinewy muscles, flanked by Rekha and Preity Zinta, with Hema Malini, Helen, Sunil Shetty, Poonam Dhillon and Raajeshwari bringing up the rear, are in the audience. 


It could be said that at the ``Yes'' shows there have been more stars in the audience than at the Oscar Nights at Mortimers. And not all come from Bollywood: the Ambanis, the Godrejs, the Birlas and the Bajajs have voted with their feet first, stomping and rocking and coming back. If there was an emergency meeting required of India's leading industrialists it could have easily been held in the aisles at the ``Yes'' show, these past seven nights. Numbers, you got numbers: seven is the combined number of days there has been an Ambani in the audience; twelve is the number of times Sunil Shetty used the word ``awesome'' to describe the show; three hundred and forty-two are the bouquets of flowers that were sent by members of the audience in gratitude for receiving passes. 

It is 7.23 but the curtain is not up yet. Behind it can be heard the audience, restless like a hungry animal, but on the side that no one can see, Shiamak andsixty people have linked hands and formed a circle. It's called The Huddle, a time-honoured tradition in theatre: bonding, motivation, prayer, and instruction.

``Remember: last day. Focus and have fun. Make Ave Maria joyful. Here's to the next 100 shows with you. Love you all...'' says Davar who has a Tom Jones-like effect on audiences. Women have been known to break down and weep, kids to discover their two feet, and grown men to beg for more when he performs. To all this the consummate performer brings an evangelical zeal. He's done the entire ``Yes'' show for free. ``For the earthquake victims. And for my friend, producer of the show Meera Jain, who backed me up and put my dreams on stage,'' he says. And then it's time to hit it. Ultra violet lights! Harlequin costumes! And action that gets the audience jiggy with it. 

Now, at 8.30, all's well with the world that goes bump in da night. Rekha and Hema, Hrithik and Suzanne, Sunil and Poonam, Preity and Helen are backstage in the interval, to meet and congratulate Meera Jain and Shiamak. ``My bachcha,'' says Helen kissing Shiamak. ``Thank you for the flowers auntie,'' says Shiamak. Then Hrithik hugs Shiamak, Shiamak kisses Rekha, Hema kisses Helen, Helen says, ``Hello beta,'' to Hrithik, Preity giggles to no one in particular and everyone agrees that the show is awesome. And must be taken abroad. And there's more. 

So much more: Hrithik dancing in the aisles, Rekha dancing on stage, Sunil Shetty proving that he can present a bouquet of flowers and chew gum at the same time. And even more: photographs and congratulations accolades and speeches. And Hrithik saying to the dancers, ``You guys blew my mind, you've taught me so much.'' And then, with a shy smile, ``But I'm not so bad either.'' You had to be there!