Friday, 20 May 2016

Dumb Charades

Brian Mendonca

One of the first things I learnt about ‘Dumb Charades’ is that you can’t be dumb if you are playing it! The game requires a lot of skill. Imagine trying to get your audience to figure out what you are so desperately trying to convey to them – through signs!

Usually there are two teams. They give each other names of films which have to be deciphered within a time limit by looking at their members mime the title. The team which manages to do so correctly most times is the winner.

The game is a lot of fun and hinges on how many films you have watched. This virtuosity is kept in mind when the teams are being chosen by the team captains when they chose their teams at the start of the game.

The last time I was part of the game, the group was discussing which languages should the movies be in. English of course was the strongest contender. Hindi came in a close second. ‘Konkani’ someone shouted. ‘There are hardly any films,’ someone countered. ‘OnlyNachom-ia-Kumpasar’ he muttered sounding defeated. ‘Nirmon’ I offered, under my breath. Why didn’t I think of Enemy’?

The Konkani Film Festival 2016 in Delhi featured the following films: Mortoo about a villager who cremates the dead; Digant  about the Dhangar community in Goa and Jagor about the son of the biggest landlord of the village. These films were not in the popular consciousness of the players of dumb charades I was with. Would they have fared better if one had to mime tiatrs instead?

The group settled with the staple for such games, which was English and Hindi. I was quite miffed at Konkani being thrown out of the reckoning. But though we were in Goa, these were not a group of families who spoke Konkani. They preferred English for conversation.

The film I got to mime for my group was Confessions of a Shopaholic.  So down I went on my knees in front of everybody. This was after showing four fingers to indicate the four words which made the title.  ‘Pray’ somebody said. ‘Kneeling’ said another. ‘Father’ said a third. ‘Confessions’ proclaimed the last. Now I wagged my fourth finger to indicate I was miming the fourth word. I set off on a buying spree showing actions of putting things frenetically in my bag. ‘Shopping’ said my savior. With ‘Confessions’ and ‘Shopping’ in the bag it was plain sailing to arrive at the title.

Sholay was the next word for the other team. The team member decided to divide the word into two syllables: ‘Show’ and ‘Lay.’  For ‘show’ he tried to mime showing something to another person. For ‘lay’ he sat down on his haunches as if to lay an egg. ‘Shitting’ someone said helpfully. They never got the title. They gave up. The Devil Wears Prada and Dilwale were the other titles which featured.Titanic was dropped as being too easy. Dumb Charades anyone?
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St.Inez, Goa on Sunday, 15 May 2016. 'Sounds like' Pix courtesy 

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