From music, to religious harmony, to politics, to philosophy, to yoga, to road safety and to social and contemporary issues, it was a fun-filled roller-coaster ride at the Alex in Wonderland show at Emirates International School Theatre during the weekend.
The Agni Events-conducted musical show in Tanglish, a mix of English and Tamil, by stand-up comedian Alexander Babu that kept the audience at their wits end throughout the two-hour parody. Armoured with a double bongos, harmonium, bass drum and a stool, which acts as his drum, Alex starts with the words “let’s laugh at life and have some fun.”
Explaining the audience during his 73rd Alex in Wonderland show — he has conducted it in many cities across the world — Alex spoke about his Engineering graduation days and the subsequent Master’s Degree in the US and his life in America. He also narrated how he accidentally made the transition from a software developer after 15 years into a stand-up comedian for the last four years.
The ease with which he handled the parody clearly showed that he has been at it much before he started his stage shows. “Yes, I used to be the clown among the group of friends at get-together and entertain them. So it [stage performance] comes from that. I was learning and playing on the side. I am passionate about music and performing,” Alex told Gulf News after the show. “There is no real change in the content in almost all the shows, it’s like a play. Only 10 per cent of the content changes based on the current situation.”
The parody touched upon the music composition of legends like Illaiyaraaja, AR Rahman, and did not spare anyone from Shivaji Ganesan, to Shivaji the Boss movie and Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, popularly known as Rajinikanth, who is making his political foray along with his friend and fellow actor Kamal Haasan, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and K.J. Yesudas, Mani Ratnam, Gautham Vasudev Menon, the list goes on and on. He even ‘pencilled’ the Why This Kolaveri Di duo of actor Dhanush and music director Anirudh Ravichander in a different light.
On the current political scene in Tamil Nadu, in regards to the political entry of movie idols Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, Alex said: “Tamil Nadu is heading for a change, a positive one. But becoming the chief minister should not be the only goal. Being the leader is one role, but not the role.”
After praising the late former playback singer and actor Malaysia Vasudevan and the numerous singers who performed the choir in some of the classics of Illaiyaraaja as the unsung heroes.
He brought to the fore the menace of comparison and competition that’s ruining the world. For that he cited the blockbuster Baahubali as an example.
Many decades ago cancer would provide the twist to a movie plot, but today it is the accident that gives the twist. It is where he highlighted the importance of wearing seat belts and helmets and abiding by the rules.
Alex’s next message is the importance of keeping it simple. “Beauty lies in simplicity,” he said and picked former legendary music director M.S. Viswanathan, popularly known as MSV, and how he just used bongos to produce timeless classics with one instrument. Alex also showed his versatility when he produced many songs composed by MSV with the same music. At another point he reeled off five songs in the same genre of Yesudas, while underlining SPB’s variety in singing.
“No point in imitating, focus on your strengths. Never worry about criticism. Keep doing what you believe in doing,” was his message with AR Rahman as a case in point.
Alex is one who practised what he preaches. To follow his passion after giving up a job of a software developer and giving away 15 years of hard work in the profession.
What next from here? “I just wanted follow the journey and do what I enjoy. As an artist my responsibility is to spread the good vibes in the world then good things will happen. The moment you feel good you will do good things will happen.
Taking the audience through the Wonderland, Alex concluded by saying: “May all the laughter continue to grow love and peace.”