Some say imitation is the best form of flattery. Nepali comedian Manoj Gajurel might say it is the best option to make a mark and win accolades.
Gajurel has won plaudits for impersonating Nepali leaders during his long career in acting, but it his Nadrenda Modi act that has become a hit both at home and abroad in recent months.
With two successful visits within three months the Indian Prime Minister has managed to woo millions of Nepalis and Gajurel is cashing on the prevailing mood by copying Modi’s speeches and mannerisms to thunderous applause.
“Mitro, Nepal aur Bharat ki mitrata hamare Soniaji ki sari aur Sushilji ke daadi se bhi acchi hai, (Nepal and India’s friendship is better than Sonia Gandhi’s sari and Sushil Koirala’s beard)” he tells a packed audience.
In the past Gajurel’s impersonations of Nepal’s last king Gyanendra Shah and Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda were the acts that audiences wanted him to perform.
But none had got the kind of response like his latest act. Recently he had a very successful six-week tour of UK where his imitation of Modi was cheered by non-resident Nepalis and Indians.
In his acts he pokes fun at Nepali politicians for their failure to draft the country’s constitution on time and also touches on issues like labour migration, power crisis and human trafficking.
In a recent interview to Nepali Times, Gajurel stated that he decided to copy Modi after the latter’s Nepal visit in August. But impersonating Modi’s dress, body language and accent wasn’t easy.
It took him several days of practice to get under the skin of the character. These days it takes him less than 25 minutes to transform to Modi and his ease in front of audiences is clearly visible.
Meanwhile, The Nepalese authorities have banned the telecast of a popular comedy TV show, “Tito Satya” (Bitter Truth), for reportedly satirizing Indian PM. The 576th episode of “Tito Satya” was abruptly taken off after officials of the state-owned Nepal Television found some objectionable remarks in the episode, the plot of which was basically dedicated to how the Nepali leadership was trying to make money out of the funds being released by Modi.