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A cheeky take on Gurugram

Updated: Apr 8

Theatre director Gouri Nilakantan Mehta spills the beans on her recent play ‘Inside Out’ and how raunchy humour is confused with satire these days.

Tired of watching raunchy comedies, director Gouri Nilakanthan Mehta was clear that whenever she would direct a satirical play, she would evade from demeaning people. Instead she promised to focus on narrating a story inspired by real-life instances to diminish the gap between real and dramatical world.

Her recent play ‘Inside Out’ is a slice of life of Gurugram that she has presented as a satire. Through her work, Gouri has attempted to figure out who Gurugram belongs to.


The play surrounds around the people, who come from different parts of the country to Gurugram to dream big, and is set against the backdrop of accommodation, family background, finances and lifestyle issues faced by them.


Gouri took inspiration from her life and those around her to tell a tale. Being a Gurgaon resident for the last three decades, she has heard several stories of people who have met a similar fate while moving to the city. It is her observational skills and listening ears that helped her shape the script and characters of the play.


“I have heard stories where someone was asked if he will be able to afford the rent, just because he came from a small town. Then some people also say: don’t say that you are from an X town as you won’t get a house in Gurugram. These are the stories that helped me in giving background to the characters,” she explains.

But was satire always on her mind? Gouri states that she had decided that a play on Gurugram deserves to be funny.

“I always wanted the play to be funny and comical. The idea was to find out as to who this city belongs to – is it the real estate developer that has shaped the city or the traditional agricultural community. I think the last laugh is with the Gurugram boy who is making money and giving the property,” she adds.


Despite being in the theatre industry for several years, Gouri experiments with this genre seldom. She points out at the lack of takers that makes this genre a risky business.


“It is impossible to work on satire as nobody gets it these days,” she says.


She also expressed her concern over the satire that is available now, which led her to explore this genre.


“Stand-up comedy is all about making fun of people or getting raunchy. That’s not what satire is all about. It’s the writing that keeps this genre alive. In Hindi, political satire is ruling. But satire lacks in contemporary life,” she adds.

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