After a gap of two years,Nepal 's best-know comic duo,Maha (pronounced "Maw-Haw),are back on stage before a Kathmandu public.Their latest productions,Shalik and Nepal Bandh ,comes as a fitting answer to those who had predicted that the pair had lost their edge or that their political satire was losing its bite.Madan Krishna Shrestha and Hari Bansa Acharya performing at the Royal Nepal Academy Hall prove beyond doubt that they are still kings of Nepali comedy.
Shalik is replete with hilarious innuendoes about the dysfunctional anarchy of the post-1990 period,and how in many ways,the chakari system and ways of feudal oligarchy were more familiar,more predictable, and more comfortable for many Nepalis than democracy.Juddha Shumshere 's statue on New Road Hari Bansa)comes alive to meet a drunk and debauched elected leader (played by Madan Krishna)and the two exchange notes on concubines and the other perks of office.
Hari Bansa comes up with a superb impersonation of Krishna Prasad Bhattarai,complete with paan pout and walking stick in Nepal Bandh .Madan Krishna plays an ordinary citizen trying desperately to take his wife to hospital during a nationwide strike because he thinks she is pregnant (she is not,she just has worms).Kishunji refuses to let them through,but is finally cajoled through an elaborate farce that has the audience in the packed hall rolling on the aisles.
It is always a joy to watch Maha in action for it is clear they respect their audience too much to pass off slapstick as comedy.Even after two decades of working together,their humour has not lost its touch. Only the ones who are likely to be at the receiving end of their satire may not enjoy it.Others will not stop laughing.