Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
|Occupation||Actor, Stand-up comedian|
Chennai is one of the scariest crowds to face. Everyone looks so conservative, but once you crack the first joke, they are so appreciatively loud that they will hit you with a laugh that will scare you stiff and yet give you energy. Chennaiites give me the loudest laughs; it's the coolest crowd to perform for.
All of the films I'm doing are young, urban, high-concept, funny films. That's the zone where I'd like to play and have fun in.
'Badmaash Company' and 'Delhi Belly' was about friends, and I was part of the gang. And yes, they did have stars playing the lead! You do need a star to sell a film; and playing the second lead doesn't bother me.
I am honestly very intimidated when I meet new people and they expect me to be the onscreen Vir. On stage, I say a lot of things I might never say in real life; I am never the life of the party. People are quite surprised to see that I am more of a quiet artiste off stage.
I feel like I share a great relationship with my audience where they trust my judgment and choice of films and sense of comedy.
When it comes to English stand-up comedy, Indians have only seen the best – Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby and the like. So, when someone claims to be an English stand-up comedian in India, he'd better be very good if he's going to make a life of it.
Whatever movies I sign, they have to get me out of my comfort zone. Otherwise, I would get bored very easily.
I was only 24 years old when a lady called Sabina Sehgal Saikia – the then 'Delhi Times' editor – asked me to host the 'Times Food Guide Awards,' so it was with The 'Times of India' that my career began in this field.
You realise the responsibility of carrying a film on your shoulders when people are investing money in you and they recognise the hard work you have to put in.
Movies require a lot of patience. I like instant results. If I have done something that's not funny at all, the audience will let me know in two seconds. With the movie, I will have to wait nine months to know if I was that bad.
While Mumbai is a melting pot of cultures, Delhi is made of community, and we can see these lines quite clearly. An aunty from Punjabi Bagh will be different from a Faridabad aunty or an aunty from Vasant Kunj.
It's very important to not repeat yourself. After 'Delhi Belly,' I was offered 40 'Delhi Belly's and you can't do that! So 'Revolver Rani' is dark and gritty with action, 'Sooper Se Oopar' is a big commercial love story, 'Santa Banta' is a 'theth' Punjabi comedy, 'Golu Aur Pappu' is a kids' film and 'Amit Sahni Ki List' is an urban romcom.
I have a rule – 'funny is funny!' When I write comedy, it's not my aim to upset people. I will be offensive, edgy and immature, but I will also be very intelligent and relevant. At my shows, there are no holy cows.
Stand-up comedy is a lot about amplifying emotions and situations; movie acting has a lot to do with mellowing things down and making them subtle. The transition was almost terrifying because of the magnitude of change.
I am edgy, raw, offensive, vulgar, untruthful, but intelligent. My jokes are always realistic. I do not make fun of children or people who cannot fight back. That is my limitation.
To me, the trick is not how can I make people laugh. It is, how can I make people laugh in a different way.
In Bollywood, I think Boman Irani and Vinay Pathak are unbelievably good at comedy.
If you are known to do something well, people want to see you do that. But what you choose to do is up to you. After 'Delhi Belly,' I got some 40 scripts – some on the same lines as 'Delhi Belly.' So, I guess people only get stereotyped if they want to.
I've been reading a lot of books on history, and watching a lot of educational TV. Wikipedia too, even though it is not reliable.
I did theatre in the U.S. because there, content-wise, it's very light. In India, theatre tends to get preachy.
I've a belt that I have worn for every single stand-up comedy session since I was 19. I fear if I ever lose it, my career would crumble. That's my one OCD.
Delhi women – they're the most beautiful women! But the fact remains that they know they are gorgeous.
I do films which get me out of my comedian routine so that I don't get bored being a stand-up comedian. And with films, it's here today, gone tomorrow. So stand-up comedy is here to stay for me.
What is important to me as an actor is that, even if I have to spread my arms, take my shirt off on a mountain top with my heroine in a chiffon sari, it still has to be me and my twist or my funny take on it.
Anybody with a sharp brain and a mic can become a comedian, but there's a need to move beyond it. The audience wants to witness the marriage of theatre, comedy and something more.
I wouldn't call myself successful, just obsessively exhausted. The music makes me smile, the movies make me feel humbled, and the comedy saves my life every day.
In a big Bollywood romantic film, taking my shirt off and spreading the hand towards the mountain with dancers behind me are not my cup of tea.
In 'Delhi Belly,' I was bald; in other movies I always carried a different look.
Alien Chutney is just what the name suggests it is. Its music that is so funny and quirky and weird that it feels entirely alien to the listener; yet, the content and the subject matter is so Indian and relatable, it's still chutney.
It might sound cliched, but choosing the right script is crucial. I think 'Badmaash Company' was a very big break for me because it gave me a lot of appreciation from the masses. It made me more confident as an actor.
I got 'Delhi Belly' and 'Badmaash Company' because people from the production house had seen my stand-up comic acts in a DVD that was lying in their offices. It's been a weird journey, and I think weird goes with me.
What I tell a girl is, your six-pack hot boyfriend right now, in six years, will be balding and maybe have a paunch. But I make you laugh every five minutes today, and I'll make you laugh 20 years from now; that's not going to go away.
I am a big fan of Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller, who have carved a niche for themselves. I think doing different kind of films gives you longevity and the ability to set yourself apart.
I don't think one gets to choose the kind of comedy he/she does. I may not talk about Rahul Gandhi's take on an ordinance, but I will talk about things as simple as a 'chappal' or a 'sherwani.' My comedy is about small things, and that is how it connects.
Surround yourself with a bunch of like-minded people, and you'll soak up their habits like a starved sponge. Fat people with fat friends care less about their weight.
Class I to XII wasn't much help; I was always a mediocre student. But when I pursued higher education and studied economics with theatre or psychology with science fiction, I got a whole new world view.
Relationship humour gets the most laughs. If I'm able to get the women laughing, men will have to laugh along because they would be scared to death.
A lot of people do comedy about India, but they're not from India. It's a Kwik-E-Mart perspective. I want to provide a genuine view and maybe one on how we see the West.
I fear debt. I don't like being indebted to banks. I have a rule in life that I will get it when I can afford it.
I'm kind of a rebound junkie. So. when a relationship goes sour, I look at the sweetness in life elsewhere. So, I date a bit. The best catharsis is to write jokes and tell 4,000 people about it.
I love the food, the girls, the sky and everything that is Delhi. I have very fond memories of the Moolchand flyover.
The idea is to do out-of-the-box films that showcase my versatility and talent.
A stand-up comedian will never be the life of a party. Instead, he will be the guy who is standing at a corner and observing people.
I think of myself as an Indian comedian, but I've had British and American schooling. I always had this feeling of not fitting in anywhere, of observing situations from the outside.
Women do come up to me after a show, but it's usually to say, 'Yhank you for making us laugh,' and all that.
For me, it is very important to believe in the kind of movies I do. 'Rang De Basanti' made me feel good about Indian cinema. The movie instilled in me a confidence so strong, that I wanted to be a part of the revolution in Bollywood.
Whether I am on a stage, behind a guitar or in front of a camera, I get paid to misbehave. Fortunately, misbehaviour is something I have unlimited supply of.
In Bollywood, people struggle because there is a new person joining every week, who joins an assembly line of people who are very replaceable. But if you are unique, you don't have to struggle that much.
Comedy is a live art, and the only way to record a comedy rock album is to do it live. The audience and their laughter is just as much a part of the album sound as our music. No retakes, no room for error.