D'Arranged Marriage

Centre Stage Theatre (Orewa), Auckland

30/09/2006 - 30/09/2006

Maidment Theatre, Auckland

19/09/2006 - 23/09/2006

Downstage Theatre, Wellington

12/09/2006 - 16/09/2006

Production Details

By Tarun Mohanbhai and Rajeev Varma, and performed by one or the other

Presented by Those Indian Guys

Those Indian Guys Present
From India with Love &
D’Arranged Marriage
Selling-out more shows than they’ve had hot curries
Those Indian Guys are back with their sell-out shows, From India with Love and D’Arranged Marriage

Winner of Best Local Act at the 2004 NZ International Comedy Festival Those Indian Guys, aka Rajeev Varma and Tarun Mohanbhai, continue to carve a niche for themselves by making contemporary New Zealand theatre which is as much historical as it is hilarious. By examining real life experiences of Indian families who have emigrated to New Zealand Raj and Tarun hit the funny bone of cultural cringe – think Billy T. James Meets the Kumars.

Those Indian Guys have audiences in stitches within one minute from the start…you gotta see it to believe it.” New Sunday Times, Kuala Lumpur 19 June 2005

Unlike Billy T, Those Indian Guys are masters of technology and props and use a variety of cross-media tools including slides, hand puppets and digital film projection to explore themes of cultural clashes, immigration, cultural stereotypes, love, loss, family, friendship and ambition.

D’Arranged Marriage premiered at the 2002 International Laugh Festival and was a sell out success. It has since toured to Melbourne, Sydney, Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur. D’Arranged Marriage has now performed over 130 times, nationally and internationally.

“A cultural comedy classic” Dominion Post May 2004

From India With Love is the prequel to D’Arranged Marriage, although it was made afterwards. The show was a highlight of this year’s International Comedy Festival and sold out during a tour of Malaysia last year. From India With Love is Bollywood at it’s best! It’s a celebration of love, loss and survival. Hilarious dance routines, projected movie sequences and clever puppetry leave audiences in hysterical laughter.  Directed by renowned comedian and social commentator Te Radar, movie sequences directed by award winning film director Cristobal Araus Lobos, set design by John Parker and sound by leading NZ DJ Timmy Schumacher – this show has all the glitz and glamour of the best  of New Zealand theatre.

From India with Love is just the dose of laughter the doctor recommended…” – New Sunday Times, Kuala Lumpur 19 June 2005

Those Indian Guys are doing what so many theatre company’s struggle to do – successfully touring, and not one, but two shows!

From India with Love begins in a small Indian village in the 1950’s. Manhur meets the beautiful Pushpa who is caring for her sick father and sets out to woo her, despite the fact his skin is undesirably darker than hers! With the help of a little song and dance Manhur wins Pushpa’s hand, much to the delight and astonishment of the entire village. They decide to help their families and make their fortunes by journeying to New Zealand. But it’s not all plain sailing. They must survive shipwrecks, unemployment, and an extremely friendly Mâori tribe before they achieve their dreams of setting up a little fruit and vegetable shop in Pukekohe and having babies!

D’Arranged Marriage is a one man show that tells the story of a young Indian boy called Sanjay who spends most of his life avoiding the issue of an arranged marriage. His nagging family finally gets the better of him but to his surprise he discovers that Neenu, the prospective bride, is the one! Unfortunately ‘the one’ is already dating the village idiot Rundeep… Adding to Sanjay’s trials and tribulations are an uncle who yearns for the perfect woman who loves to cook, clean and play cricket, an annoying cousin, Sudefed…who is full of useless information. Throw in Mr. Dave Patel, Neenu’s father, Johnny Walker’s best friend and resident snob at No. 42 Smith Street, and you have the funniest parody of Indian family life since Bend it Like Beckham.

Theatre , Solo ,

1 hr 10 mins, no interval

Comedy nicely arranged

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 17th Sep 2006

Those Indian Guys, last seen at Downstage during the comedy Festival this year with From India With Love, are back with their original show D’Arranged Marriage.  Where their previous show had both performers, Tarun Mohanbhai and Rajeev Varma on stage together, this current one is a solo performance with each taking night about. 

As is well known, arranged marriages are a major part of Indian culture, both back in India and here in NZ, and it is the concept of how this works and the pressures enforced on those that don’t comply with family tradition that Those Indian Guys use to great comic effect in their show. 

D’Arranged Marriage tells the story of Sanjay Gupta, at 25 still living at home, still helping to run the family corner dairy and still single.  He spends most of his time either in the shop or playing with his X Box continually avoiding the question of an arranged marriage. However, his nagging parents finally get to him and he succumbs to meeting Neenu, who, to his surprise, he takes a liking to. 

This is a slick, well written and put together show that has a whole range of characters with whom Sanjay interacts. And in the opening night performance Mohanbhai’s is able to make each character real and funny yet never over done. He expertly portrays their interactions and idiosyncrasies with perfect timing, one minute playing the mother, the next the father then back to Sanjay.  His use of facial expression is particularly telling, with his continual use of various guises to enhance his body posture and voice. 

He is also a very good dancer and can carry a song well.  Mention should also be made of the excellent lighting used throughout the show and the clever and innovative way slides are integrated into the dialogue to make this a most entertaining piece of theatre.


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Richly woven comic tale

Review by John Smythe 12th Sep 2006

Fresh from playing their most recent show, From India With Love, in Hamilton, Those Indian Guys are back at Downstage with the sequel, D’Arranged Marriage, which in fact came first (at BATS, in the Comedy Festival of 2004).

A solo show, it is being performed on alternate nights by one of its co-creators, Rajeev Varma or Tarun Mohanbhai, while the other sees to the impressive lighting, sound and slides. And the team work that made From India With Love such a hit remains very apparent.

On opening night Tarun Mohanbhai played out the 80 minute multi-character marathon to a house I know was laughing lots on the inside, if not outwardly very often. An almost subliminal sense that he was refreshing his memory banks as he reclaimed the roles may have contributed to our sitting more in admiration at his prowess than subjectively engaged in the tale itself.

Introducing himself as Sanjay Gupta, 25 and still living at home, assistant in the family shop by day and would-be stand-up comedian by night, he unfolds the tale of how – as a modern day Kiwi guy – he attempts to dodge the traditional concept of arranged marriage.

A quick whip through his 10th, 15th and 25th birthdays brings us into his current life, in the bosom of his ever-loving family but with no bosom for a pillow, as one of the many songs would have it. Having resisted his destiny with Neenu Patel for 15 years, it’s a shock to discover she has blossomed – and even more of one to discover she has a secret boyfriend: Rundeep, “the pseudo Indian from Fiji who wears more bling-bling than Mr T”.

Meanwhile Sanjay’s father Manhur and mother Pushpa – whose journey from a small Indian village in the 1950s to true love amid the fruit and vegies in Pukekohe is the essence of From India With Love – and assorted uncles and cousins, hassle him in various ways at various times in various places.

As the richly woven comic tale is told, the seamless staging is as easy to take for granted as Mohanbhai’s fluid physical moves and versatile singing voice(s). Each character is clearly delineated and amid the archetypes Sanjay and Neenu ring especially true. I predict another sequel to complete a trilogy.

D’Arranged Marriage completes this week at Downstage then plays Auckland’s Maidment and Orwea’s Centre Stage: click on the production title at the top for further details.


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