‘What do Obed Mlaba, Krish Kumar and Mike Sutcliffe have in common with the late Amichand Rajbansi?”
That was the opening line of a press release that dropped on my desk and had caught my eye.
“If you want the answer to this million-dollar question, see Ronnie Govender’s ‘2 Mucken Futch!’ it continued.
“This is bold”, I thought as I tried to get of hold Govender for an interview. With all of that in-your-face speak, I had to hear what this was about.
I asked Govender to first explain the context of the original Too Mucken Futch! and then the sequel which stages next week, ‘2 Mucken Futch!’
“Almost 20 years ago, I wrote a skit for Kessie Govender which was about an audience watching a Bollywood movie. To quote the programme notes, the Bollywood movie ‘stars Amichand Bachen supported by a glittering cast of thousands, with comedy, tragedy, bathos and pathos, featuring dazzling dances and heartrending songs, in glorious Technicolour and scintillating stereophonic sound’. Twenty years later, so what’s new? Indeed, the Bollywood syndrome seems to have entrenched itself in the very psyche of its legion of avid followers.
“Escapist entertainment, perhaps, serves its purpose in keeping the lid on simmering discontent in teeming India where the yawning gulf between the starving masses and the powerful, rich elite, might otherwise erupt in the kind of violent, sporadic service delivery protests we are witnessing in this country. So what is the price this formulaic brand of escapist entertainment?” he says, questioning the role of the arts.
“Of course, there’s some great music and dance in these movies which, at the time I wrote the skit, was gradually gaining ground in this country. The question arose: while there is a need for entertainment, would such a heavy emphasis on playing to the lowest common denominator not have repercussions in other areas of life? Would it not encourage an emphasis on the glamorous and the superficial rather than on healthier and more important values” he asked.
Expanding on their continued lampooning of what Govender refers to as “apartheid stooges and other shibboleths and holy cows”, ‘Too Muckin’ Futch!’ turned out to be a box-office sensation.
“Over the years I have constantly been asked to do a sequel but have had little time, having, in the intervening years written and directed three plays, two novels, a memoir and two biographies. Presently there are concerns that our hard-won democracy is going off the rails. The mounting corruption has indeed become too muckin’ futch!”
Govender said the audience journeys through different scenarios in the sequel.
“Starting with presenters from a TV station, Station Chatsworth, giving a blow-by-blow account of the Diamond Jubilee of the queen, touching briefly on the impact of the British Empire on its colonies, and turning the spotlight on international corrupters and the locally corrupted.
“We then move to a talk show with the subject Chuning Like Char Ous. The current affairs programme deals with the commemoration of the arrival of Indians in SA. In the second half we present a gripping drama on the planned destruction of the Morning Market, starring Obed Mlaba, Mike Sutcliffe and Krish Kumar,” he said.
Asked what he hoped the response to the sequel would be, Govender said: “I hope people have a rollicking good time.”
The comical send-up is spiced with entertaining songs, dance and music, highlighting the singing genius of cabaret singer Jaziel Vaugh’hann and young Dhenishta Chetty. They are backed by an all-star cast in Mayuri Naidoo (Muvango), Jayshree Parasuramen, and the rising star, Vedarsha Singh.
The show opens at the Golden Horse Casino on Friday at 5.30pm and 8pm. Get tickets at the casino. It will continue at the Square Space Theatre on September 12 ,13 and 14 and then the Supernova, Suncoast Casino on September 15. Book at Computicket.