Getting Theatrical: The Bombay buoys

A VJ on MTV for MTV’s Bakra, where he posed as different people in the city, so intrinsic to its life. Making fools out of them, and putting them in a tough spot.

A waiter who knows nothing, a bulky butcher who looks like he wants to snap your head off...kohl eyes et al. Cyrus Broacha is thus that guy who made it big by being chosen as a VJ on one of India’s foremost music channels.

Kunal Vijaykar studied at Mumbai’s JJ School of Art, after which he puttered in advertising, writing, acting, having to leave aside an ambition to study catering for art, because he wasn’t able to pass his 12th. His food show,

The Foodie – with Kunal Vijaykar, his love for grub, along with his obsession for the theatre, are things that make Vijaykar the funny, always eating sort of person he may come across as. To some people, as he says.

Broacha and Vijaykar are telling us about “all things Mumbai” in Raell’s Padamsee’s I Love Mumbai, where different quirky things about this city have been satirised such as the socialite who is always waiting for her car, and the things women love about men here. Showing at Bandra’s St. Andrews this evening.

What are your political preferences?

Cyrus: I don’t think that’s a fair question. It’s like asking me who I sleep with. I’m one of the six people in Malabar Hill who voted. Five were the candidates. I went to the thing at 8:45 in the morning and the cop was sleeping. There was nobody in the line.

I had to wake him and say ‘Sir, thoda duty kar lo’. Then I had to tell him what to do. Malabar Hill is just like backward, not interested. A politically unconscious part of Bombay which is just not interested and never will be.

How do you describe friendships or familial relationships, in the big city?

Cyrus: I wish they would stop having relationships in Bombay of any kinds. I can’t see the point of any of them. Not those amongst family members and definitely not amongst those who came to be acquaintances like me and Kunal. I get nothing from my friendship with Kunal.

I have tried to sell him on the open market, it hasn’t worked. I find that Mumbai has become more and more clinical, in the last few years. It’s just in the language itself. People say ‘What’s up’; they don’t expect you to reply.

What about love relationships in Mumbai?

Cyrus: I enjoy the love of the occasional lady, definitely a few dogs, and one plant. Of course that plant happens to be a relative now. With certain amount of surgery we have been able to put her together.

The quality love relationship will still happen occasionally. We shouldn’t be so cynical. But by and large I do feel that the entire city—and maybe this is true of most big cities, and because of the population and the dog-eat-dog mentality—I think at some point love is just not a very important thing.

I honestly feel that right now in a big city like Mumbai, and many other big cities, everybody thinks of themselves first. So love is compromised already. The city and the person are the same.

We are very Machiavellian in our outlook. What’s in it for me? So what’s in it for me dictates love. It’s not about this completely sacrificial love which is almost one sided in favour of the other person. It’s a very grey area.

From the women that I have spoken to in my life, they always say, you must learn to listen. I think Indian men have a big problem with listening. I am top of the chart there.

But I have mastered the fraudulent listening pattern, which I got from St. Xavier’s College, where you actually listen to the teacher. But you don’t listen…

You do a column called Seriously Cyrus for a daily. How is it being the person who has to give all this advice to people who are in a relationship?

Cyrus: We used to do a show called Loveline with a young girl called Malaika, who’s eternally 24. We really enjoyed it because people ask the most ridiculous, unnecessary questions. Like a guy asking that I’m in love with this girl in my tuition class, I’ve known her for two years, but, she doesn’t even know who I am. For two years you liked a girl, you haven’t made a move, I mean what do you expect. Wait another seven and that would make it all okay?

What makes you guyspukka Bombay Boys?

Kunal: Both of us are born in Bombay. I was born many years before Cyrus. I’m about eight or nine years older than he is. Though he looks older than me. Also, I come from a community which is a very Bombay community.

Cyrus is half Parsi, which is again nearly a Bombay community now. Without trying to sound like a snob, we were all born in South Bombay. People born in our time and place have a certain sense of humour which is influenced by different genres. There’s a huge Parsi natak genre, Parsi comedy play review format, as South Bombay boys that we were influenced by…

What are you grateful to Bombay for?

Kunal: People know you, they recognise you, you get little favours, you can jump queues. That’s the great thing about Bombay. You realise when you are in Bombay, everything just falls at your feet. And the minute you go to a foreign country, nobody knows who the hell you are.

What was it about Mumbai that made you a foodie?

Kunal: My favourite food of all time is Butter Chicken, and the multiple varieties of Butter Chicken that there are in this city. The Punjabi one, the Muslim one, the Chillia one, the Shetty one, the cheap restaurant one, the home made Butter Chicken. But they all have different tastes.

My cousin, who used to be a little older than me.. we used to go to a small restaurant off Flora Fountain called Café Bahar. It’s still there. I discovered you could actually get a biryani for Rs 5 and a half. It was a cheap restaurant, and I’m talking about the 1980s. It opened my eyes. Cheaper restaurants turned me on.

The idea of eating cheaply and more often. The independence of being able to eat on your pocket money…You were either going to Oberoi or eating at the Mughal Room. Or you are eating at the Café Royal or whatever. How can you be a foodie and not go to the cheap ones?