It’s been over a decade since his first stand-up show in India, and despite side careers like music (with his band, The Ash Trays) and films (Love Wrinkle-free and Guzaarish), comedy is still what “puts the bread on the table” for Ash Chandler.
But the funny man says, “Stand-up comedy has become a buzzword now, and there’s lots of exciting stuff happening. It’s still nascent, though (in India). Ten comics in a country of a billion cannot be called an industry.”
What made him take up a risky profession like stand-up comedy, especially at a time when it didn’t have much of a following in India?
“I actually didn’t come to Mumbai for that. In 1998, I came here to release a Hindi pop album, because the genre was very famous back then. Recognising my interest and talent in stand-up comedy, people asked me to give it a shot. Now the number of shows that I do as a stand-up comedian and a singer are almost equal,” responds Ash.
Prod him about his upcoming projects, and he says, “Coming up is a two-man show with Dalip Tahil. I’ll be taking my last year’s sell-out show, Ash And You Shall Receive, across the country in the coming months. My new album, which is in English and Spanish, is ready, but I’m not sure about its market here.”
Ash has also signed his next Bollywood film, which he’s reluctant to talk about just yet. Ask him about the various characters he’s played so far and he gives us a gist: “In Shikhar (2005), I was a French designer. Then in My Bollywood Bride (2006), I played a South Indian rickshaw driver. Guzaarish (2010) had me as a magician, while in the latest, Love, Wrinkle-free (2011), I played a salesman for an innerwear company.”