Geffen Playhouse, in association with Hypokrit Theatre Company, launches filmmaker and cookbook author Sri Rao’s Bollywood Kitchen this month. The latest show is part of a new lineup of live, virtual and interactive productions from the Los Angeles-based theater’s Geffen Stayhouse banner, created to entertain performing arts lovers during the pandemic. Sri Rao’s Bollywood Kitchen, directed by New York City-based Hypokrit Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Arpita Mukherjee, is inspired by his cookbook of the same name, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
In this interactive production, Rao invites us to prepare a homemade Indian meal along with him, drawing on the recipes that were staples at his family’s table, when growing up in Pennsylvania. As we join him in cooking these delicious dishes in our very own kitchens, Rao interweaves the story of his parents immigrating to America, the joy and nourishment that Bollywood musicals brought to his whole family and the culinary traditions they shared. Mouthwatering flavors come together with the colorful exuberance of Bollywood films to create a festive and fun virtual experience about rediscovering the comforts of home and the impact of Indian cinema.
“The two questions I get asked most often at cocktail parties are, ‘Can I get one of your mom’s recipes for homemade Indian food?’ and ‘I’ve never seen a Bollywood movie before—can you recommend one to me?’ Well, the Geffen is giving me the opportunity to answer both questions at once—and this time, the cocktail party is at my place! Bollywood Kitchen is my way of introducing audiences to two of my passions—Indian food and films—while taking them on a personal journey of my family’s immigrant experience,” said Rao, who is also the creator and showrunner of Netflix’s upcoming series, The Actress, starring Bollywood icon Madhuri Dixit and produced by Karan Johar.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the world-renowned Geffen Playhouse to bring Sri’s unique Indian-American, immigrant experience to life by interweaving food and film into a one-of-a-kind live experience,” said Mukherjee, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Hypokrit Theatre Company in NYC. “Our company prides itself on telling the intersectional stories of people of color, and we are certain Sri’s journey will be relatable to many Indian Americans who embrace their multiple identities and create a confluence of culture by honoring their past and celebrating their present.”