MOOMTAZ EMRITH

I got the privilege to read the script of the forthcoming publication of Assad Bhuglah, entitled “Bhandaari” (Master Chef). It is a drama based on the folklore and culinary traditions of the Muslims in Mauritius. It revolves around the degh (special cooking pot) and the “Bhandaari,” who makes the princely dish: the Biryani.

Assad Bhuglah tries to focus on the rich cultural culinary heritage of Mauritius that has been passed on from generation to generation. I have been impressed with the simplicity of the story line of Assad’s play “Bhandaari”. I have no doubt it will hit a cord with many in the audience when staged aided by its setting, decor, humour and colour. I know, for sure, the play will ring a bell with the elders — who still have recollections of how the Biryani used to be cooked in the old traditional way. These folks can relate to what our budding playwright is talking about in the play! The play is written in both English and Kreol languages so as to reach a greater audience. However, I have the feeling that the kreol version will appeal more to the people because it is down to earth.

Once the play is staged, people will love it as many in our larger Mauritian community would be able relate to what is going on stage. Assad Bhuglah has put into the play a lot of information about being a Bhandaari, and also about the history of biryani itself — all intelligently wrapped in an intrigue that is enlightening to the audience while driving home a message of goodness, honesty and the value of virtue.

Also, the success of the play will depend on the atmosphere, decor and music… But, all in all, I feel confident that Assad Bhuglah’s “Bhandaari” will be a winner with our enlightened and diverse Mauritian audience who all, in one way or another, have a flair for the exotic “royal dish” — the Biryani. The book is being launched on 24th April 2019 at Petrusmok Library, Hennessy Park Hotel.