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Delhi-based stand-up comedian entertains Pakistanis

July 17, 2012

Indian stand-up comedian Sanjay Rajoura performs at T2F.–Photo by White Star

KARACHI:  The Second Floor (T2F) hosted a performance by Delhi-based Indian stand-up comedian Sanjay Rajoura . Most of the audience were already ardent fans of the comedian and had followed him to his performance at T2F after being entertained by him at his previous performance at the Social Media Mela held in the Avari.

Sanjay Rajoura’s brand of comedy discusses everyday problems and issues faced by the average Indian. Most of his commentary, if not all, was relatable for the people here if put in the Pakistan context.

Everything was discussed — from admission in college on a sports basis to making friendship with female students on the same basis, dating modern Indian women to foreigners and their naive perceptions of India. He spoke about the anomalies between what was considered representing Indian culture by Indian government and what wasn’t, Bollywood celebrities and their statements and, of course, jokes about cricket, Shahid Afridi and India’s obsession with Sachin Tendulkar.

It was a little hard for this scribe to comprehend some of the Hindi words that Sanjay used in his act but that wasn’t a problem faced by most other audience members; the popularity of Bollywood has ensured that local youth remain aware of commonly-used Hindi jargon.

After the performance, a member of the audience asked whether Rajoura thought that Pakistanis and Indians shared the same sense of humour. Rajoura responded by saying that his performance at the Social Media Mela was the best performance of his life. “Claps and laughter don’t give you satisfaction, what gives you satisfaction is that people understood your point.” He mentioned that stand-up comedians were ‘the new rock stars’ in India, but that unfortunately most of them did not understand their own culture at all, and therefore their jokes were unrelatable for their audiences.

He concluded his answer by saying “You may find stupid (ehmaq) people everywhere… but in India they have money. You may find such people here, too.” Responding to a question by a member of the audience as to whether there was any subject that was taboo for him, or one that he was afraid to talk about, Sanjay jokingly responded “I am properly inebriated before every performance, therefore I don’t know what you are saying”. He added that he didn’t consciously prepare his content beforehand and that “fear is a pseudo concept that tells you that if you protest against something or say something that something bad will happen to you,” adding that he didn’t subscribe to that philosophy.

It is always good that an exchange of art and artistes takes place between two countries. It helps foster understanding between the people of the countries, creates awareness about participating countries and helps in discovering commonalities that exist and bind us as human beings. In the case of Sanjay Rajoura’s performances in Karachi, all of that happened with the help of good humour.

The stand-up comedian’s parting words to his audience were, “how do you people manage to laugh so much?”