The comic scene in Indore has started to grow with stand-up comedians coming to the city to perform live. After Sorabh Pant’s live performance last month, Indore had another laughter session recently where members of East India Comedy (EIC - a group of seven funny men) – Sapan Verma and Angad Singh Ranyal came to perform here at The 78 Boulevard. After a two-hour gig, the two comedians got candid with HT City. Excerpts:
All comedians have been uploading their videos on YouTube, including EIC. How important do you think YouTube is for you guys (comedians)?
Angad: The entire digital platform is important and YouTube is just a part of it. Digital platform is the only marketing for us and it has zero costing.
Sapan: YouTube of course is very important and has a lot of cost involved. Whereas Facebook and Twitter give you free platform, which is why you will see all the comedians on social networking platforms posting jokes and writing funny things. However, you can’t skip YouTube because it caters a very large audience across the globe. You never know who may call you for a show from which part of the world!
You both and other comedians have left their high-profiled jobs and got into comedy. Do you think comedy has finally been accepted as a career option in India?
Sapan: There are at least 100 people who are into comedy. Comedy has multi aspects to it such as videos, writing scripts, live shows, etc. For instance, last year we wrote the script for IIFA award so whatever Shah Rukh Khan and Farhan Aktar said on stage, was written by us comedians. There is a lot of work around comedy that happens. Every comedian is not doing stage shows. And what people have not realised is that a very big industry is coming up in comedy that is producing comedy shows.
Angad: I still believe that the scene is pretty much only in Mumbai and Bangalore. If you are a comedian, you will settle down in either of the two cities. It still needs to grow.
Talking about producing comedy shows, how according to you are Indian comedy shows doing right now?
Sapan: It is great that comedy shows are happening because these shows create an awareness about comedy. My parents did not even know what stand-up comedy was until they saw Raju Shrivastav and Sunil Pal on television and realised that it is an art form. The only thing is that TV comes with a lot of responsibility and censorship that’s why we can’t get on TV since our content is slightly edgy that way.
Anagd: One thing that Kapil wanted to do was to take a break and come back. Colors didn’t let him do that. Comedy works with season. It takes time, needs a lot of content and it works best only in season format.
You guys are a mix bag of men of different age groups. What is that one thing that keeps all of you together?
Angad: We all love porn equally (laughs).
Sapan: Comedy is about the chemistry you have with the people. We live together at times when we are shooting for three days non-stop, we travel together. It is not just about being funny but also about how good a chemistry you share. We just found common liking towards each other.
So what happens when you guys are shooting together?
Angad: Sapan tries to kill everyone.
Sapan: Comedy looks very fun but the process behind it is rigorous nightmare. Shoot is a very intense process so the director wants to kill everyone. When I’m directing, I’m always screaming at people. Controlling sevens comedians in one room is a nightmare because everybody is a funny bone and you really have to shut them up. We have a lot of fun at shoots but again, there is lot of work involved in it as well.
Q. While writing your jokes, does political fear grips you thinking somebody may get offended and file a case against you?
Angad: More than political, the worry is about religious matters. Initially I used to be a lot scared but now I’m fine with it.
Sapan: It is more about YouTube. All India Bakchod (AIB) roast issue also happened after it was broadcasted on YouTube. Before that, none of the audience got offended with the content. At live show, we can talk about anything because the audience gets the context of the joke. When you put it out on YouTube, you don’t know who is watching it and what may offend him. We have to be very careful with uploading videos.
According to you guys, what is that one thing that you want to see changing the comic scene?
Angad: MORE MONEY! (laughs)The audience needs to take us in a light way and understand the context of our jokes instead of getting offended.
Sapan: The scene needs to expand massively in India. Five years from now, I wish to see the same comic scene of Mumbai happening in Indore.