My daughter had started calling me "Uncle", says Cyrus Broacha, who has recently started using hair dye. In a mad-hatter conversation with Nikhil Taneja...
Where have you been?
I’ve just started using hair dye.. it’s a new experience for me. I had to do so because I was working less and spending more time with my daughter. She had started calling me "Uncle". I’ve been preparing for today. We at Bakra, will be celebrating April Fool for the first 14 days of the month.
Since you are the founder of the Bakra Din, what has April 1 come to mean to you?
Honestly, I used to hate the day because my mother would play pranks on me when I was a kid. She’d get away with it because my dad’s a lawyer. Ever since Bakra Din came about, it’s turned worse. I wake up scared on April 1, wondering how many people will beat me up.
Why? Has something in the past left an indelible scar?
Last year, everything was fine and I’d gone to sleep peacefully. My wife woke me up to tell me that I had to go back to office. So I drove to work.. I HATE going there. Turned out, they hadn’t called me. So this time, I’m more cautious. Even if my urinary bladder doesn’t work in the morning, I’ll look for cameras in my loo.
How did Bakra become so popular?
The concept was a genius. But I’d give credit to the people who’ve been watching the show. They don’t even realise that we’ve been airing old bakras for a while. Why? I don’t like going out in the heat now since age is catching up with me finally. But this year, we have several new celebrity and cricket gags since it’s IPL season. Or maybe it’s not. Ha.. ha.. ha.
How many people do you think are cheesed off with you because of Bakra?
I’ve lost count, baba. Some viewers think we are uncivilised. They are absolutely right! What they don’t know is that once we wrap up the shoot, we spend half an hour patting the backs of the bakra contenders, giving them a soft drink or two and pulling their cheeks. But my mother still thinks I’m very mean.. what to do?
Was there any gag which backfired badly?
There was one in which I was to drive people around in a taxi and the phone would ring. I’d give them the handset and the gag would play out over the phone. One day, the phone’s batteries died out. I picked up a passenger but the phone never rang. I couldn’t inform my crew.. they were far away. So for an hour, I drove around south Mumbai, picking up and dropping passengers.
Now let’s talk about the infamous gag that Prahlad Kakkar played on you.
Is Prahlad giving you money to promote him? Actually, I treat my friend Kunal Vijaykar badly, so I bet he planned revenge. As per the prank, the lightman abused Prahlad for not paying him. (Actually, I sympathise with him because Prahlad really doesn’t pay people on time). Then suddenly, Prahlad slapped him.. and the lightman shot him! I was reeling from the shock. I could see my whole life flashing by like an ad film. The lightman then waved the gun at me. I begged for my life! I ended up looking like a coward.. but then I am one. The reaction was natural. I couldn’t possibly tell the lightman, “Maaro, mere ko bhi maaro!”
So.. anything you want to declare to the world today?
Some people ask me if the gags on Bakra are rigged. I’d like to point out that the gags are so mediocre, they can’t be rigged.
Do you think there is any chance of April Fools Day being rechristened Cyrus Broacha Day after you die?
Why wait till I’m dead? It should happen right now. I have spoken to both Manmohan Singh and the opposition party.. we ought to do something for the common man. Even the Left parties agree with me. It would be the right thing to do.. and could probably help them win the election too.