I’m not Semi Girebaal because I’m a Bawa!
Cyrus Sahukar’s second season of spoof has begun, but he has his serious moments as well … despite being a Parsi, he says!
With all due respect to Simi Garewal, we think the spoof on her show ‘Semi Girebaal’ is more entertaining than Simi’s original ‘Rendezvous’. And Semi aka Cyrus Sahukar should feel proud about achieving what Simi never could. Making your sides split till you can laugh no more. Simi, that gracious lady, of course can evoke a smile out of you. But we’re not talking about Simi Garewal over here. This is about Cyrus Sahukar, the other funny man on MTV, who you must’ve seen a hundred times on your television screens, dressed in hilarious costumes when he’s not doing something crazier with the other Bawa on the channel, Cyrus Broacha.
His most recent exploits are aping Simi in the hugely popular ‘Semi Girebaal’ and we decided to catch up with the guy who comes on our screen every week with different guests. Heading to the MTV studios at Parel, we met Sahu, as he is fondly called by unit members, on the sets. The detailing with which his costume has been put together is laudable. Dressed in white satin slacks and a frilly white blouse, a string of pearls around his neck, huge diamond rings, snazzy earrings, embroidered shoes (!) and make-up in place, he’d make even Simi blush! The only thing missing is the brown wig. But that would be put on last. “I hope you don’t mind talking to a man in drag,” he says with a smile as he sits down to talk to us; bright red lipstick and a layer of rouge in place. We didn’t. But it was hard not to stare!
“I was doing a lot of radio and theatre in Delhi and I was 18 when I auditioned for the MTV VJ hunt and was selected from among thousands all over the country. I moved to Bombay and have been here ever since. I always wanted to be a part of the media, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t prepared to be a VJ. But the move from Delhi was quite crazy. There’s a big difference between Mumbai and Delhi both with regards to space and pace but I’m more used to it now,” says Sahukar adjusting the huge ring on his right hand.
So what was his reaction when he was told by his bosses that he would have to dress like a woman? “It was weird in the beginning. The thing is that Cyrus (Broacha) and I had a programme called ‘Ek Do Teen’, where we would do a lot of gags and spoofs and in one of the episodes I dressed up as Simi. That episode received good TRP’s and we decided to have our own takeoff on the original show. Last season we had look-alikes of the original actors as guests on the show. This time we have real celebrities, who I’ll interview and we throw in a couple of look-alikes for more fun. My first guest was Mahesh Bhatt and I think I scared him!” he says mischievously.
The unit is ready for the shot and Sahukar excuses himself for five minutes. The short, brown wig finally rests on his head and we think he makes quite a pretty picture on the immaculate white set, where besides the wooden floor, everything is white; rugs, couch, walls, lamps and candles. A ‘Semi Lisa’ painting hangs over the fireplace; one which must be making poor Da Vinci turn in his grave. “Welcome dah-lings”, he starts as we can’t help but grin at the complete insanity that spews from his mouth.
A couple of minutes later, he’s back. “We don’t really have a bound script. Although I’m given lines to speak, most of the times I do a lot of impromptu stuff and we decide spontaneously on the sets what to do. I get my inspiration from every single person I meet. I think there is a hypocritical side to all of us and it’s fun finding that. I observe things around me; we’ve all got
our own strange quirks that I like discovering. I just go with the flow,” he says.
So does he ever get tired of being funny? “Yes!” comes the reply. “I don’t think any sane person can be funny all the time. They’d have to be mentally scarred or neurotic to be funny all the time. Even I go through phases when I’m quite serious. It’d be crazy to assume that a person is comical incessantly. And many people think I’m this way because I’m a Parsi. I admit we Bawas have our own funny side but then that depends on person to person!
When I’m not shooting I’m busy catching up with friends, watching movies or just sitting on my couch; I’m a great couch potato! I also love talking; I can interact with any type of person.”
Has he ever met the lady in white he apes so overtly? “No”, he shakes his head. “I’ve never met her and neither has she tried to contact me.”
And how tough is it to dress like a woman? “It’s crazy! I had no idea that women have to go through so much torture! It’s tiring to wear all these layers of clothes and I absolutely hate putting on the makeup. In any case I think I’d make a horrible looking woman!” Sahukar says with smirk. Talking about his future plans, Sahukar says, “I’m going to be travelling a lot in the next few weeks and then I’ll take a break. I want to do a lot of new stuff; the way I present my shows and so on. I’m hoping to get all the VJs’ mothers on the show and interview them together. I wish I could make more creative decisions,” he says before scurrying away to give his next shot. We wait for a while and watch him crack inane jokes before we move out chuckling to ourselves.