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Sex, politics and history

That encompasses Vir Das’ take on History Of India – VIRitten, his new sketch comedy.

art and culture Updated: Dec 22, 2010 15:44 IST
Sharin Bhatti
Sharin Bhatti
Hindustan Times

The first King of Man who is given directions by a fish, eccentric Mughal rulers fond of architecture with no utility, linguistically challenged freedom fighters, mellow English rulers, the revolutionary Maruti 800 that revs at a top speed of 42 kmph and of course, Kalmadi is how comic Vir Das wrote his history of India.

In a two hour long set, Das and accomplice Kavi Shastri took a somewhat skeptic crowd, willing to laugh mostly when Das said sex, politics, Kalmadi and Khar subway in the same breath, through the evolution of India. By the end of the show, the audience were cackling and guffawing (some, rather forcefully).

But the insinuating one-liners that remain are honestly funny. His descriptions are pickled with hilarious Indian culture references that only ‘We the people of India’ will understand. For example, Das’ Akbar instantly concurs an image of a muscle-flexing, green-eyed Hrithik Roshan because he had a Hindu and a Christian wife and was the world’s first NRI.

For Das, who choses to tackle a subject matter that could get him a brow beating from pretty much every Indian extremist lobby, there is a disclaimer at the beginning. “If you think I care a damn, I don’t. But please don’t assassinate me,” Das pleads while cowering down in a begging posture in his black closed-collar sherwani. Before beginning the lesson plan, Das put an invisible elephant in the room called Appu, whom he refers to every now and then, when a stray joke bombs in the crowd. Nevertheless, we did end up laughing out loud at his interpretation of our ancestry.

We picked out five of his best gags that you should look out for the next time.

First Published: Dec 22, 2010 14:35 IST