“CRY­ING WON’T STOP THE HURT OF FAIL­URE BUT WILL DRIVE YOU TO DO BET­TER”

Su­mukhi Suresh, 30 stand-up co­me­dian, mumbai

India Today - - COVER STORY - By Aditi Pai

WHEN YOU

watch her as Su­mukhi Chawla in the mock­u­men­tary web series Bet­ter Life Foun­da­tion or as the quirky Anu Aunty in

The En­gi­neer­ing An­them, it’s hard to be­lieve that com­edy was never a ca­reer plan to be­gin with. It hap­pened by chance. Five years ago, Su­mukhi Suresh worked on a play with Ben­galuru-based col­lec­tive

The Im­prov, with­out know­ing that com­edy was her call­ing. “I had no clue about com­edy and im­pro­vi­sa­tion. I was un­der the im­pres­sion it was a play. I wanted to get back to theatre, but it turns out I found com­edy,” says the grad­u­ate in food sci­ence from Uni­ver­sity of Madras who was work­ing at a food lab­o­ra­tory at that time. The play worked and she won ac­co­lades and con­tin­ued pur­su­ing com­edy on stage for the next two years. In 2015, she quit her job to make a ca­reer as a stand-up comic. “I wish some­one had told me that I was go­ing to grow up to be a stand-up co­me­dian or ac­tor or writer. I would have watched all sorts of shows to be up-to-date,” she says.

Bet­ter late than ever

The ac­tor, stand-up co­me­dian, writer and direc­tor some­times re­grets hav­ing started a lit­tle late. “I wish I had started writ­ing stuff for my­self ear­lier rather than wait­ing for oth­ers to write. I also wish I had started stand-up ear­lier but I am try­ing to com­pen­sate for the time I have lost,” says Suresh. With suc­cess­ful per­for­mances such as the video series

Be­hti Naak in which she plays a 10-yearold girl with a dead­pan style of hu­mour or the pop­u­lar web series

Push­pavalli for Ama­zon Prime In­dia, it’s sur­pris­ing that Suresh wor­ries about fail­ure. “I have al­ways be­lieved that I should work very hard be­cause I al­ways ex­pect to fail. This way I hope to do a de­cent job. The day I am able to con­tin­u­ously sell out au­di­to­rium shows solely on my name will be a suc­cess­ful fete,” she says.

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