Bollywood not well versed with new-age comedy: Sapan Verma

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New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Comedian Sapan Verma says Bollywood directors and writers are still in favour of the “conventional Johny Lever kind of loud slapstick comedy” and not too familiar with new-age comedy.

The English stand-up comedian, also co-founder of the premiere comedy collective – the East India Comedy, is open to work in a Bollywood film but is not willing to just “make funny faces or be loud”.

“There are a couple of challenges. A lot of movie directors/writers when they think of a comedian, they think of the conventional Johny Lever (comedian) kind of loud slapstick comedy,” Sapan told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“I get calls for so many ads to make funny faces and be loud. A lot of people in the industry, especially Bollywood, are still not well versed with new-age comedy…the genre of comedy that we do. But if I get a good offer, I would love to do,” added the artiste, who likes to create awareness about various issues through comedy.

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But it’s also lack of time that keeps him away from doing films or TV shows.

“I was offered a good show. I was excited for it but it didn’t work out because it was for 90 days back-to-back. I had prior commitments,” said Sapan, who performs, writes and directs.

Asked to comment on Hindi comedians, he said: “India is such a vast country. We have so many different types of people and languages. There is potential and scope for all kinds of comedians to grow…Hindi, English, Marathi. It is super cool.”

“Everybody doesn’t understand English or Hindi. In the last five years, comedy as a genre of art has evolved so much. Earlier we used to do comedy in coffee shops and all, now we have giant auditoriums, specials on Amazon Prime Video and what not. It is flourishing,” added the talent, who has done shows in New York, Melbourne, Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona, Dubai, Singapore, Beijing and more.

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He started his career seven years ago. Talking about it, he said: “It is the best job. You get paid for making people laugh. It doesn’t involve you going to an office or doing a 9 to 5 job. That way it is a lot of fun but at the same time, it is very tricky as people in India get offended very easily.”

Politics also makes for great comedy.

“It (politics) is a major part of our life. I think it’s good that people are talking about it. That’s how you make people aware of the things happening around you. A thing like demonetisation does affect your life or banning a movie, but we are not after the government,” he said.

Pop culture or city specifics like Mumbai floods or metros, anything that affects people, he feels people “must talk about it and that’s what we do”.

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Last month, Sapan hosted Romedy Now’s #FurrentinesDate, a ‘speed dating’ initiative created for animal lovers. He also promoted animal adoption through the initiative.

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])



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