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LATAAS FM (article first published : 2003-11-13)

Media personality Manoj Lakhani directs and produces Lataas FM, part of the festive fare at Durban's Playhouse next month. “Lataas” is slang for "slapdash" or "haphazard". The play stars well-known comics Bassy Bhola, Yugan Naidoo, Koobeshan Naidoo and Kumseela Naidoo. It features DJs and staff known as Envy, Aunty Tamasha, Gruffybhai, Revi and Tension Seepaul.

Lakhani said the play was a fun production "celebrating our local media and exploring a day in the life of a radio station". He said he had consulted his lawyers and was not concerned over possible legal action.

"Lataas FM is not designed to be offensive or malicious. It covers a range of issues, including an alleged affair between staffers, the exodus of staff and programme content."

It was also intended to educate people and help them understand "ethnic media" and the working mechanisms of radio.

"Ethnic media continues to be a burning issue and perpetuates a status quo in terms of stereotypes, and the play is an attempt to, in a humorous way, capture this."

He described Lataas FM as a "minimalist play" and said the script was workshopped by himself and the cast.

Present Lotus FM station manager Shanil Singh said it was premature to comment as the play had yet to be staged, but added that it was important to note that "it is the dawn of a new era at Lotus".

"With respect to the brand, that is Lotus FM, I believe we are extremely fortunate in that we cater for an educated audience who are capable of distinguishing between comedy and reality," he said. His predecessor, Naresh Veeran, would not comment.

Former Lotus FM staffer and Sunday Times Extra columnist Devi Sankaree Govender said she had no problem with the production. "I've been caricatured endlessly by stand-up comedians and am quite used to this," she said.

Lataas FM runs at the Playhouse from December 4 to January 4.




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