Aisi Taisi Democracy comes to Kolkata with The Aazaadi Tour 2019
THEY’RE three men out to entertain people with their anti-establishment humour and crackling critique of everything under the sun — covering the government, electoral democracy, patriarchy and casteism to urban family structures, and even cows!
Over the years, they have travelled to many cities and alerted people with their social criticism and wry humour. This weekend, the trio of Varun Grover, Sanjay Rajoura and Rahul Ram will be in town to offer some more acerbic truths, in the form of jokes and parodies, as they critique the Indian elections, jingoism as the favourite pastime of many citizens, and the ‘masculinity problem of the Indian male,’ as stand-up comedian Varun Grover puts it.
Currently, the Aisi Taisi Democracy show is in its fifth year, and The Aazaadi Tour has already done 13 shows across10 cities. “It started as a one-off show that me and Sanjay had planned to do. Later, Sanjay roped in Rahul Ram, and we have enjoyed performing ever since,” says Varun, adding that a trip to the US and Australia is also on the cards.
“ We meet a few weeks before the tour and discuss the ideas and the broad topics or themes that should be covered in the show. We write the songs, and Rahul composes them in two days. After that, we prepare individually, sending ideas to each other on email,” he adds.
Rahul Ram’s parodies like Naukri and Chunaav ka Mahina have become instant hits on YouTube, with more than one lakh views, and audiences too have warmed up to their approach, travelling great distances to watch them perform. “On this tour particularly, we heard that people had travelled from Mumbai to Pune to attend our show, and for our Chandigarh show, one person had biked all the way from Dehradun,” notes Varun with a smile.
He goes on to explain their charm on-stage: “Our first layer of interaction is usually entertainment, but we presume the subsequent layers, often leaving the audience with a valid question about our society and lives in general.” We ask Varun if he ever faced any challenges in perpetuating this brand of humour, and he replies, “The most challenging thing was to convert our anger into a comedy routine, and say the most offensive of things in the least offensive ways.”
He adds, “We managed to attract people who have been the followers of a particular ideology we were mocking, and it’s a joy to be able to perform this kind of a show.” To sign off, he quips, “The journey has been great so far, and the show is exactly how we feel about our place, as artistes in the world. It frees us, just like any truth frees people.”
March 18, 7:30 pm. At GD Birla Sabhagar
picture courtesy: Namratha Singh