181121 Rakesh Bedi 2
Rakesh Bedi Image Credit: Supplied

One man playing 24 characters may sound like a herculean task, but veteran TV actor Rakesh Bedi will make it look like child’s as he brings his one-man comic show Massage to Dubai on Friday.

The two-hour monologue, acted solely by Bedi who has starred in hit TV shows including Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Shrimaan Shrimati and Yes Boss, will be staged at the Emirates International School Jumeirah.

“There are no costume changes for two hours in Massage… It’s just me playing a medley of characters in quick succession and there’s humour and pathos intermingling,” Bedi told Gulf News tabloid! in an interview ahead of his show. Massage chronicles Happy Kumar, an actor hopeful,

“The character in which I play a politician’s assistant Pandey is hilarious… You will love all the characters,” said Bedi. He has just one request. “Switch off your phones” because he gets distracted by the sound of phones interrupting his play.

When the play finishes, the audience will get the distinct feeling that they have seen several actors in action.

- Rakesh Bedi | Actor

Here are five things that you need to know about his play that will be staged on November 23 at the Emirates International School Jumeirah in Dubai:

1. Massage is a play that Rakesh Bedi launched 13 years ago and he has performed it over 50 times across the globe.

“Massage is a play that was originally written in Marathi by Vijay Tendulkar and later adapted to the Hindi language… I staged this play in Dubai around four or five years ago and what’s best about that city is that the audiences and their tastes keep evolving. I am eager to see how they react to this show now,” said Bedi.

2. Massage is the journey of a man who lands in Mumbai to become an actor.

“When it comes to a person’s journey as an actor, you know and hear about the success stories. But with every success story, there are many tales of failure that are never highlighted. Massage will touch upon the tale of a person who comes to Mumbai to become an actor, but doesn’t get a break in the industry… He then gets a job as a masseur… This monologue is a Charlie Chaplin take on a star hopeful’s trials. There’s humour and pathos in Massage.”

3. Rakesh Bedi plays multiple characters in Massage.

“I play 24 roles in this play. I play the struggling actor and then later switch to a Punjabi film producer, an actress’ mother, a Bihari politician and even a dance instructor. When the play finishes, the audience will get the distinct feeling that they have seen several actors in action rather than just one Rakesh Bedi. They often come up to me and talk to me as if there were different actors in this one-man show.”

4. For Massage, the actor drew extensively from his personal experiences.

“This is an adaptation of a Marathi play and so it has hundreds of anecdotes that happened in my real life. When a good writer gives you a good playground with a good story, then you can do a lot with it. I haven’t changed the plot of the original, but I have tweaked a bit … There’s no reference to #MeToo as we couldn’t disturb the original storyline,” said Bedi.

5. My biggest challenge for this play is to get people into the theatre to watch him.

“Once you cross that door and take your seats, leave the rest to me. I will make sure that you don’t look at your watch even once in those two hours. You will be full engrossed.”

Don’t miss it!

When: November 23, Friday

What: Massage by Rakesh Bedi

Where: Emirates International School Jumeirah

Tickets: Dh75, available online