If you are going through pain and don’t laugh, you die; so laugh: Saurabh Shukla (IANS interview)

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Kolkata, Feb 25 (IANS) Versatile actor-cum-screenwriter Saurabh Shukla, best known for playing Justice Sunderlal Tripathi in the “Jonny LLB” movies, says the current political situation is funny and one just needs to laugh in times of hardships.

Shukla feels even in a politically heated-up situation comedy has a role to play and he would suggest that people laugh.

“Nothing is more funny than the political situation at this moment,” the actor, who immortalised Kallu mama in “Satya” and Tapasvi Maharaj in “PK”, told IANS during a visit to the city.

Explaining how comedy can help in sending political messages, the National-Award winning actor said “anything said with a tinge of humour is received well” and there is humour in everything.

Asked about the controversy surrounding Naseeruddin Shah’s comment that he feared for his children in today’s India, Shukla remarked: “Isn’t it humorous? It is highly humorous.”

In an interview in December, 2018, Shah had raised concerns about the safety of his children, making an indirect reference to the Bulandshahr violence earlier that month that left two people, including a police inspector, dead.

Shukla remains optimistically unperturbed.

He mentions Osho’s book “Take it Really Seriously: Revolutionary Insight into Jokes”, a collection of 5,000 jokes from around the world.

“In its preface, the author said the maximum number of jokes were created by the Jews as they went through so much that they needed to laugh. So, if you are going through pain and you don’t laugh you die. So laugh,” the master of comedy suggested.

Shukla’s recent stage production “Barff”, published as a book, is about three characters in Kashmir.

“Because it is about Kashmir, everyone expects that it will talk about the politics there. But it doesn’t. Subtly it is there because you are never free from the politics of the land. But it does not talk right in your face,” he said.

His mother, Jogmaya Shukla, was one of India’s first woman tabla players and his father was a vocalist.

“I was very attracted towards music. I also sing, but not professionally. Even my little knowledge of music helped me a lot in my other art. When I joined the theatre it became my strength. So I tell people, to become a complete artist you should have a sense of everything — be it music, painting or sculpture,” he said.

According to Shukla, “Screenplay, acting and everything else go hand-in-hand.”

“If I have any advice for the actors, I tell them to write,” the award-winning screenwriter said.

Shukla who started with theatre and is known for films like “Bandit Queen”, “Slumdog Millionaire’ and “Barfi”, explained that by writing he doesn’t mean writing like a professional. Actors need to imagine and writing is the best way to express it.

His upcoming films are “Family of Thakurganj”, Anees Bazmi’s “Pagalpanti” and “Shamshera”.

“Shamshera is an epic, so the character will be epical but there will be a tinge of humour in it,” he added.

(Binita Das can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

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