Comedy Duo Returns With From India With Love
The award-winning comedic talent of Those Indian Guys is back. Winners of Best Local Act at the 2004 NZ International Comedy Festival and the creators of the hit show D’Arranged Marriage, Those Indian Guys bring their unique blend of comedy, Bollywood, madness and mayhem under the exuberant direction of renowned comedian Te Radar in From India with Love.
From India with Love has its premiere season at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE® from May 17-21 as part of Oddfellows New Zealand International Comedy Festival 2005.
A celebration of love, loss and survival, From India with Love is the third comedy show from Tarun Mohanbhai and Rajeev Varma … and with themes as ripe as cultural alienation and the Indian social system how can you go wrong?
From India with Love begins in a small Indian village in the 1950’s. Manhur (Mohanbhai) meets the beautiful Pushpa (Varma) who is caring for her sick father. Falling in love with Pushpa immediately, even though she is darker than him and therefore undesirable, Manhur sets out to woo her.
With the help of a little song and dance he wins her hand, much to the delight and astonishment of the entire village. Now they must help their families and make their fortunes so they journey first to Fiji and then to New Zealand. But it’s not all plain sailing.
They must survive shipwrecks, unemployment, and the National White League before they achieve their dreams of setting up a little fruit and vegetable shop in Pukekohe and having babies! Combining puppetry, digital film projection, Bollywood Indian music and dancing, a raft of multi-media tricks as well as a lot of laughs, From India with Love is set to delight.
Following the Auckland season, Those Indian Guys will be taking From India With Love to Wellington, Malaysia and Singapore.
From India with Love follows the success of Those Indian Guys’ shows D’Arranged Marriage and Indian Invaders.
D’Arranged Marriage premiered in Auckland at the TV2 International Laugh Festival 2002. Written by Mohanbhai and Varma, directed by Varma and starring Mohanbhai, the show was a sell out success and Ross Mollisons Productions in Australia picked it up on a three-year international contract.
Internationally, the show has since toured to the Melbourne Comedy Festival and had a sell out six week season at the Sydney Opera House Studio in 2003. This year Those Indian Guys are taking D’Arranged Marriage to Malaysia and Singapore. Nationally and internationally, D’Arranged Marriage has now been performed more than 80 times and the show sells out wherever it is performed.
In 2004, Those Indian Guys performed D’Arranged Marriage to sold out audiences in Auckland and Wellington, and premiered their new work, Indian Invaders, a prequel to D’Arranged Marriage, in Auckland at the SiLo Theatre.
Indian Invaders was a sell out success with extra shows sold out in 48 hours. It was the first time that Tarun and Raj appeared on stage together and the show won the Best Local Act award at the 2004 New Zealand International Comedy Festival.
From India With Love is at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE® from 17-21 May. Book at Ticketek (09) 307-5000 or online at www.ticketek.co.nz
Critical Acclaim For Those Indian Guys
“Warm and hysterically funny! And can make anyone laugh until tears start rolling down their cheeks. A must watch show for everybody.” Bharat Times Australia April 2003
“He’s good but, Tarun Mohanbhai is not one in a million. Consider the world’s Indian population and you realise he’s actually one in a billion and therefore his reach is considerable. In some ways he seems the perfect Billy T recipient. Like James, Mohanbhai is merciless with his culture’s stereotypes… His song and dance routines are distinctly un-Indian and deliberately funny. And the slide shows are hilarious. All I can say give a man a cricket bat and he will be funny for a day; give him a sari and a cricket bat and he will be funny for life.” Sunday Star Times May 2002
“An irresistible show that is as warm as it is funny!” nzoom
“This is an entertaining show that rolls along…” The Nelson Mail, September 2003
“Mohanbhai’s transitions between characters are smooth and almost flawless… An enjoyable evening.” Sydney Telegraph, May 2003
“Rajeev Varma is especially versatile, and hilarious.” New Zealand Herald, September 2003
THOSE INDIAN GUYS – A HISTORY
Those Indian Guys are actor Rajeev Varma and comedian Tarun Mohanbhai.
Creating contemporary New Zealand theatre that examines the experience of Indians in New Zealand society, Those Indian Guys have carved a niche for themselves in the New Zealand entertainment scene.
Themes that are explored include “cultural clash”, immigration, cultural stereotypes (from both New Zealand and Indian perspectives), growing up Indian in New Zealand society and cultural expectation as well as broader themes of love, loss, family, friendship and ambition.
The work has a basis in comedy and includes a variety of cross-media tools including the use of slides, shadow and hand puppets, digital film projection and soundscape. All of these elements create work that is textured and engaging to a broad audience.
D’Arranged Marriage was TIG’s first show. It premiered in Auckland at the TV2 International Laugh Festival 2002 and starred Tarun. Written by Mohanbhai and Varma and directed by Varma, the show was a sell out success and Ross Mollisons Productions in Australia picked it up on a three-year international contract.
Internationally, the show has since toured to the Melbourne Comedy Festival and has had a sell out season at the Sydney Opera House Studio in 2003 for six weeks. This year it is booked to tour to Malaysia and Singapore. Nationally and internationally, D’Arranged Marriage has now been performed more than 80 times. The show sells out wherever it is performed.
In November 2003, TIG cloned the show and premiered it at the Classic Comedy Bar in Auckland to a sell out house. The cloned show stars Varma and is directed by Mohanbhai. The clones were performed simultaneously in Auckland and Wellington in May 2004 as part of the 2004 International Comedy Festival at the Herald Theatre and Circa Studio Theatre. Both seasons sold out completely. Critical success was garnered for the Wellington season where the show was heralded as, “a cultural comedy classic…” by the Dominion Post. Most recently Rajeev performed the show at the 2004 Fuel Festival where the show sold out before opening.
The 2004 International Comedy Festival was a busy time for TIG. Not only did they sell out D’Arranged Marriage in Auckland and Wellington, they premiered their new work…Indian Invaders, the prequel to D’Arranged Marriage, in Auckland at the SiLo Theatre.
A sell out success with extra shows sold out in 48 hours, it was the first time that Tarun and Raj appeared on stage together and the show won Best Local Act at the Festival Awards. Those Indian Guys were under the excellent eye of Radar, who directed Indian Invaders, a revered New Zealand comedian who has won acclaim for his work with Mike King and his insightful and disturbingly different documentaries Timor Odyssey and the upcoming Christmas in Bethlehem: a naiveté story…
2005 will see them touring a radical reworking of Indian Invaders entitled, From India with Love to Malaysia and Singapore in June 2005, after premiering it at the Herald Theatre in May in the 2005 Laugh Festival.
From India with Love will again be directed by Radar, with Paul Nicols redesigning lights, digital video segments directed by awarding winning filmmaker Cristobal Araus Lobos and sound design by Tim Schumaker. New puppets are being created by Ollie Smart. The play is being dramaturged by acclaimed New Zealand playwright, Gary Henderson. From India with Love displays a maturing of TIG’s theatrical work to a sophisticated and sharpened comedic look at Indian life in 1950’s New Zealand.
An extensive national tour of From India with Love and D’Arranged Marriage is being planned for 2006.
Those Indian Guys can also been seen in “King Kong: Don’t Mess with the Monkey,” a short film this is dedicated to Peter Jackson’s upcoming King Kong feature. The short has featured on Flipside and One Network News. You can view the film at www.kongmovie.com
Mohanbhai and Varma wrote and performed a series of sketches for Asia Down Under on TV One. They also are the regular MCs for the Auckland and Wellington Diwali festivals. Their commercial for the Auckland Diwali festival, in 2003, won widespread acclaim within the South Asian community, when it was screened regularly on Auckland’s Triangle Television.
In 2004, Those Indian Guys appeared extensively on television. They wrote and starred in their own comedy skits for the Mike King show, appeared alongside Pio in Some of my Best Friends are Indian and were interviewed on Breakfast, Good Morning, Frontseat, Headliners, Nightline and One Network News.
With the franchising of D’Arranged Marriage and the reworked From India with Love already booking for 2005, Those Indian Guys are well placed as an emerging force in the New Zealand entertainment industry.
Tarun Mohanbhai first began his comedy career at school entertaining his classmates, but it wasn’t until 1996, that he first performed live at Kitty O’Brien’s comedy evenings.
His career took off from there and in 1998 he had his first festival show, Driving Mr Daisy with Mike Loder for which he won the Quest of the Fest competition. It was also in this year that he made his first trip to London where he performed at The Comedy Café and to Canada where he was onstage at Lafflines, Yuk Yuks and the Urban Well. He went on to start his own company That Indian Guy (www.thatindianguy.com) which went on to produce the comedy shows Curry and Rice, Curry Muncher and the first season of D’Arranged Marriage.
In 1999, after the success of their comedy festival show Three, Mohanbhai with Chris Brain and Terry Frisby joined with Rhys Darby to form Brat Pack and enjoyed a sell out tour through the South Island and performed regularly at the Classic Comedy Club. Since then he has gone from strength to strength, performing at every New Zealand International Comedy Festival
In 2001 Mohanbhai wrote, directed, and acted in, Night Groovers; a Rad for TV 4 which remained on high rotation for the duration of the network.
In 2002 he devised D’Arranged Marriage, for which he was nominated for a Billy T Award. The show was a sell out success and was picked up by Mollisons in Australia on an international contract. He also travelled to England and appeared at many successful comedy venues including Jongleurs, Mirth Control and was the winner of the Comedy Café Open Mic night. In 2003 he toured extensively with D’Arranged Marriage both nationally and internationally.
In 2003 he was a core founding member of the The Untouchables Collective, New Zealand’s first South-Asian theatre company which premiered its first production at the Wellington Fringe Festival to great acclaim.
Tarun’s television credits include Pulp Comedy (multiple series), Mercy Peak, Australia’s Comedy channels’ Forum Gala 2003 and the 2002 Billy T Awards broadcast. In 2004, he appeared on Asia Down Under in a monthly comedy sketch and with Pio in the new series of Some of my Best Friends Are Indian. He has appeared on Havoc, sketch writing and acting in the Mike King show and is a co-writer and performer in the new comedy series Last Laugh for TVNZ which is scheduled to air mid 2005. He can also be seen in the up coming feature Tyrannical Love and on a new TSB ad soon to hit our screens.
Mohanbhai and Varma’s commercial for the Auckland Diwali festival won widespread acclaim within the South Asian community when it was screened regularly on Auckland’s Triangle Television. Those Indian Guys can also been seen in King Kong: Don’t Mess with the Monkey, a short film that is dedicated to Peter Jackson’s upcoming King Kong feature. You can view the film at www.kongmovie.com.
Tarun is an established MC and if often called on to MC the annual Diwali festival for the Auckland and Wellington councils along with the annual Auckland Cultural Festival. He has performed in most centres throughout New Zealand as a solo artist and with Those Indian Guys.
Currently Tarun is working with Raj in developing From India with Love which opens at the 2005 New Zealand International Comedy and Festival and writing a comedy series that is to be directed by Peter Salmon and produced by Liz Difiore.
Tarun Mohanbhai is a New Zealand born Gujurati Indian
Rajeev Varma is an experienced writer, director, producer and actor. In 1995 he graduated from Unitec with a Diploma in Acting and went on to form the Rising Generation Theatre Company, whose productions included Play Lunch, Spies Spy or Die and Versus all written by Toa Fraser. Raj produced the premier season of Bare by Toa Fraser at the SiLo Theatre, which went on international success.
His directing credits include Painted Lips by Katherine Van Beek at the 2001 Fringe Festival and D’Arranged Marriage. He recently facilitated the 3rd year graduating students at Toi Whakaari, the National School of Drama with their solo shows.
As an actor his television credits include Xena where he played Krishna, Young Hercules, Letter to Blanchy and Shortland Street. Rajeev has also appeared in P.E.T. Detectives and Serial Killers. He featured in a Vodafone Live commercial in 2004.
He and Mohanbhai have appeared on Asia Down Under in a monthly comedy sketch series and with Pio in the new series of Some Of My Best Friends Are Indian.
Mohanbhai and Varma’s commercial for the Auckland Diwali festival won widespread acclaim within the South Asian community when it was screened regularly on Auckland’s Triangle Television. Those Indian Guys can also been seen in King Kong: Don’t Mess with the Monkey, a short film this is dedicated to Peter Jackson’s upcoming King Kong feature. You can view the film at www.kongmovie.com.
Rajeev was seen as a lead character in Amarbir Singh’s digital feature, 1nite, that premiered at the International Film Festival in 2004. His role as a frustrated Sikh taxi driver won him critical acclaim for his powerful performance. Currently 1nite is being marketed internationally.
On stage he was a core cast member of Improv Bandits for two years and toured nationally and internationally with them. Other theatrical roles include Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank directed by Raymond Hawthorne, the national tour of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and The Taro King. Varma appeared in the premiere of Awhi Tapu, by Albert Belz produced by Taki Rua for which he won a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 2003 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.
In 2003 he created The Untouchables Collective, New Zealand’s first South-Asian theatre company which premiered its first production Yatra at the Wellington Fringe Festival 2004, to great acclaim. In October 2004 Rajeev appeared again in The Taro King which performed at Bats Theatre in Wellington.
Currently Rajeev is working with Award Winning Digital Film-Maker Cris Araus on the screenplay for the digital feature Dollar Dealers and works as a casting assistant for Christina Asher. He is also working on a new play The Taxi Man. For television he is working with Pio on development of characters for his new television series and is writing a comedy series that is to be directed by Peter Salmon and produced by Liz Difiore.
Rajeev Varma is a New Zealand born Punjabi/Rajasthani Indian.