Pranksters on the Prowlhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/pranksters-on-the-prowl/

Pranksters on the Prowl

Hidden behind bushes and big cars one witnesses a cruel scene — a man caught between a criminal who is holding him to ransom and two policemen pointing a gun straight at him.

Funny man Cyrus Broacha is back with more gags on the popular MTV Bakra after a brief hiatus

Hidden behind bushes and big cars one witnesses a cruel scene — a man caught between a criminal who is holding him to ransom and two policemen pointing a gun straight at him. The victim is sweating and writhing in fear,while those behind the cars and bushes are laughing hysterically. A few minutes into this roadside drama,you see the victim sporting a big smile and hugging the well-built,Parsi policeman.

Just then,a car with three young girls in it stops and two of them scream “Aye Cyrus”,giggle and drive away. Everyone knows that India’s favourite funny man,Cyrus Broacha is back with MTV Bakra. Began in 1999 as an experiment on a music channel,Bakra and Broacha managed to make a nation laugh for nine years. “In 1998,Malaika and I were shooting in CMM studio for MTV Loveline and we were waiting for a celeb guest. We were just outside the studio,killing time when I started troubling the taxi guys— I stopped one speeding taxi only to ask the time. That guy got irritated and hurled abuses. We randomly shot some bits and finally decided to make a show out of it,” says Broacha as he wears his Dabangg-inspired aviators for the ‘naakabandi’ gag. MTV Bakra went off air in 2008 because the gags became repetitive and Broacha became too recognisable a face. “But it had to make a comeback— a lot of our audience was in school when the show began and now they are all grown up. People have literally grown up with the show and it appeals to everyone — from school kids to housewives,” says Trevellyn Fynn,Associate Creative Director,Endemol,who is currently directing MTV Bakra. The 5-minute long show airs on MTV,every Sunday at 7 pm,with a repeat on Thursday at 7 pm.

On the back road of Lokhandwala,two barricades,one mini police van,a police jeep and a bullet are the set up on the road. A silver car is seen coming. “Cy,bakra approaching. Get ready,” says Fynn over the walkie talkie. The traffic policemen stop the car,the boot is opened and Jagjeet,Broacha’s co-actor and fellow policeman,places fake car number plates and a bag of money in the silver car. What follows is hilarious— a corruption officer interrogating the driver,accusations and reminders of consequences flying,until,unfortunately,the ‘bakra’ recognises Broacha and bursts out laughing. “I am a big fan of Broacha and on this show,almost eight years ago,I had requested MTV to do a bakra on my friend. I had never imagined that a prank like this would be played on me,” says Paul Gonsalves,the man who made a bakra of MTV Bakra.

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“This happens at times. We learn from these mistakes. I think we overacted,” guffaws Broacha. A day at the shoot is full of goof ups— from a broken belt and a gag getting busted to a Bhojpuri writer filing a police complaint and a crew member getting three stitches on one of his hands.

After a tiring first gag,the team goes for lunch— college girls photograph Broacha using their camera phones,middle-aged men wish him luck and Broacha gets busy ordering an elaborate lunch. The team discusses the prank with the Golmaal 3 team— Tusshar Kapoor was the bakra here. “Celebrity bakras are the toughest,though there are some really memorable ones like the one we pulled off on cricketers Parthiv Patel,Rahul Dravid and tennis player Sunita Rao. My favourite was the one we planned with Anil Kapoor on our own team member,” says Broacha. He adds that it’s only the rich and the famous who usually have problems with the gags. “In the past,we have pulled off some fantastic ones on Rahul Bose,Rahul Dev and Madhu Sapre but couldn’t air them. Now we try and plan gags involving the celebs,instead of just targetting them,” says Broacha.

Rajesh Gosavi,a crew member reveals,“The team once pulled a prank on Broacha. He played a taxi driver who irritated passengers by not driving and only making “vroom” sounds. We planted an actor who pretended to get angry and threatened him. Cyrus tried to calm him down and took him to the car with the camera. As soon as he came close,we drove off,leaving him with the irate ‘passenger’. When he found out,he was angry,but we made him wear the bakra topi,” says Gosavi. The headgear— with huge horns and flappy brown ears— is part of the identity of the show. “The topi stays even in this season — nothing can replace it,” says a crew member.

It’s a relief to know that Broacha and Bakra are back. On the sets,however,a crew member will warn you to be alert— Broacha might make you his next bakra.