We Indians Finally Learnt to Laugh this Decade
#DecadeHop organized by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul.
What is a decade? 10 years of memories strung together on one string? Here is my string of pearls…
We Indians Finally Learnt to Laugh this Decade! !Like Wordsworth, I would like to burst into poetry…but instead, let me talk about Humour in India. Did you know that on the latest UN report on the World Happiness Index India ranks a pathetic 122!
Indians Have a Funny Bone
Lo and Behold, the new age Indians… have actually located their funny bone. The new generation is truly learning to rib one another and poke fun while pulling each other’s leg. The stiff upper lip is tweaking upwards and Indians are actually laughing at the quirky customs, traditions, superstitions in the society and culture.
The crass David Dhawan humour is passé and the new humour is a blast of fresh air. The best example of the new sensation was the All India Bakchod (AIB) which got roasted by the trio of Karan Johar, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. The starved audience lapped it up but the powers that be banned it.
Politics at Play
Actually it is the politics! The right to speech is fundamental only in name. Do we have the freedom to criticise, mock, or lampoon public figures who persistently throw their weight around and swagger in front of the media?
Religion! Touché? Ridiculing a religion, a God, Baba or a Godman, is considered a crime. Comedy as a genre hovers around tremendously close to things around us and requires a lot of matter on religion and culture. The BOLD stand-ups are taking them on heads up but….with the threat of being locked up.
But methinks, India’s sense of humour has evolved a wee bit over the years. Stand-up comedy is a gift from the west! Albeit in its infancy, these shows have become quite popular and kids, adults and even oldies my age are appreciating and having a laugh too many.
The Gradual Evolution
In the ’80s, when I was in college there were platonic dates, in the ’90s, it went from touch to kiss. In 2000, it was do anything but keep it under wraps and in this decade it is free for all! From puritanical to wanton PDA and in the same way stand-up comedy has become explicit with debauched jokes on real sex, virtual sex, gays or heteros.
The move towards this openness is a bit sluggish and wavering but I would say that there has been remarkable progress.
Vir Das started performing when he was studying at Knox College in Western Illinois. Vir’s comedy stems from American and British stand-up traditions but his content is deep-rooted in contemporary India. He unabashedly dares and gets away with risqué and political jokes.
Stand-up comedy is not funny business but is serious business for many of the new crop of youngsters. With the growing Internet penetration, audiences are now primed for adult entertainment after years of feeding on Hollywood comics. Many Indian comics have now gone on to bag their own comedy shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. They have emerged as seasoned comedians while taking off on satires of their own experiences, paradoxes, and defiance of being a regular Indian.
Zakir Khan; the sakht launda
One of my personal favourites is Zakir Khan, who is one of the best comic storytellers in the country. He looks very ordinary and weaves a plebeian circle arc around his jokes. The mix of mundane but nostalgic stories about growing up, especially his college days which make up the fodder for his best comic acts. His catchphrase, “Main sakht launda hoon. Pighalta nahi hoon” sets him apart from the herd.
Youtube and easy access to the internet has made overnight stars who are now being wooed to the stage. It was these videos that introduced us Indians to stand-up comedy as an art form. The current crop of popular stand-up comedians who can make you laugh till you drop is Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill, Abish Mathew, Tanmay Bhatt in the males to name a few.
Stand-up comedy always used to be a ‘bro space’ but it is another bastion stormed by female comedians. The big names would be Aditi Mittal, Kaneez Surka, Sumukhi Suresh, Mallika Dua and my favourite Neeti Palta. I cannot take jokes about women’s bodily functions. Period! Comedy is the right medicine for all kinds of sadness and I absolutely agree. If you want to laugh till you cry then go watch Neeti Palta’s set on Comicstaan 2!
The reality shows like Comicstaan have opened up doors to many funny youngsters launching them into a viable career. Most cities these days have local stand-up comedy shows at lounges, pubs and private gigs.
Writing a comic script in India is easier as it can be idiosyncratic. The jokes can be cracked in one or many languages. This flexibility creates a closer bond between the comic and the audience, as they can relate more to the jokes if stated in the local vernacular language.
We Indians Finally Learnt to Laugh this Decade– Humour Has Come of Age in India
It is heartening to note that stand-up comics are now thriving in India. A bourgeoning scene brimming with numerous open mics, comedy festivals, and of course OTT deals for stand-up specials proves that India is finally laughing. Keep laughing India, as it gets rid of many ills.
Here is to real ROTF and LOL’s. May the new decade have the stand-ups indulging in more horseplay, romps in the hay rather than vaudevilles of old? Do you agree that We Indians Finally Learnt to Laugh this Decade?
“This post is a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organised by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee”