JUST FOR LAUGHS

MEET THE NEW CROP OF PUN­JABI STAND-UP CO­ME­DI­ANS ON IN­DIAN TELE­VI­SION

India Today - - SIMPLY PUNJABI PEOPLE - BY ANANDITA GUPTA

Com­edy in Pun­jab is se­ri­ous busi­ness. The com­mu­nity’s pen­chant for humour has pro­duced le­gendary co­me­di­ans like I.S. Jo­har, Mehmood, Jas­pal Bhatti, Bhag­want Mann and Gur­preet Ghuggi. How­ever, it is the new-age Pun­jabi co­me­di­ans that are a rage on the small screen. Their sharp wit sourced from ev­ery­day life and lo­cal lingo are be­com­ing a sta­ple at com­edy shows. Not just smart mouths, these young co­me­di­ans are also smart cook­ies, mak­ing big bucks through sev­eral live shows and stage per­for­mances.

Hit­ting the jack­pot

RA­JIV THAKUR

Ra­jiv Thakur be­longs to the breed of young Pun­jabi co­me­di­ans whose spoofs on celebri­ties have won him a fan fol­low­ing. Thakur is not only the writer-di­rec­tor of sev­eral plays, but also an ac­tor. His dou­ble role in SAB TV’S Sa­jan Re Jhooth

Mat Bolo has en­thralled au­di­ences. Thakur be­gun his ca­reer al­most a decade ago, writ­ing plays at Guru Nanak Dev Univer­sity in Amritsar. The di­rec­torac­tor-turned-co­me­dian has been fea­tured among the top fi­nal­ists of shows like Ch­hote Miyan Bade Miyan, Com­edy Cir­cus, Fun­jaabi Chak De and The Great In­dian Laugh­ter Chal­lenge III.

“I never thought that what I did for fun at col­lege would earn me not just my bread and but­ter, but cake and jam too!” laughs Thakur, point­ing out that standup com­edy is not just a hobby but a pay­ing ca­reer now. “Dur­ing the days of Do­or­dar­shan, a co­me­dian could earn national fame by ap­pear­ing in a few episodes of a soap, but would still be paid a pit­tance,” he says. “In fact, if he drove a Maruti 800, it was con­sid­ered that he had ‘ar­rived’. But now, things are dif­fer­ent. Even an or­di­nary co­me­dian can make a de­cent liv­ing, thanks to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of chan­nels.”

On the flip side, Thakur points out that even the most ac­com­plished co­me­dian finds it dif­fi­cult to earn fame, be­cause of the scores of chan­nels com­pet­ing for the au­di­ence’s at­ten­tion,

Thakur cred­its the small screen for his suc­cess, “Com­edy gets recog­ni­tion on TV,” he says. “From vil­lages, it has reached the cities and now it is on tele­vi­sion.”

BHASKAR Paul/www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

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