Express news service
The title of Vir Das’ Netflix stand-up special, To India, found deep meaning after receiving an International Emmy nomination. After all, the comedian calls it a “love letter to Indian culture” and adds that he aimed to bring the culture to the world with the special. With the show nominated alongside other international titles such as the popular French series Call My Agent !, the Colombian show Promesas de Campana and the British title Motherland: Christmas Special, Vir is convinced that his idea has paid off. “It’s nice to feel like an artist and to see your work recognized, especially when it comes to India. With this show, I intended to say, “I think my people and my culture are funny.” It’s a great feeling to have this thought validated.
News of the appointment, Vir says, came as a shock. “Someone texted me on WhatsApp, and I thought it was nonsense. Even when I saw a few tweets, I didn’t think it was true. that after Netflix got in touch that I started to believe it, “he laughs.” What makes it more special is being nominated alongside international series and being the first Indian comedy to do it, it was more surprising to me than anything else, I never thought that stand-up comedy would fit into the category.
Vir, one of the most popular names in the Indian comedy scene, is both a first-hand witness and a catalyst for the evolution of the medium in the country. What changed? “Everything,” says Vir. “There has never been a better time to be a stand-up comedian in the world. There are more sites, platforms and tickets being sold. The art has evolved too. taken and more people are listening to our voice. ”
The comic book also believes the reach of stand-up comedy extends far beyond urban areas. Vir’s take on comedy reaching inside the heart of India is identical to what Raju Srivastav once said about Johnny Lever. Speaking about the fame of Johnny Lever’s audio cassettes in the ’90s, Raju said, “His voice and his work have reached places even he couldn’t get to in person.” Vir too, says something similar, although for modern viewers. “India is one of the biggest markets for smartphones and YouTube. Hindi stand-up comedy has a much broader reach than English stand-up comedy in India. Stand-up comedy is more of a small town art form than a big city art form.
A few political satirists have also used this art form as a means of dissent, but Vir rejects the idea that comics are the voice of dissent. “Comedians are not the voice of dissent, journalists are,” he said. The comedian, however, admits that more “reality” is expected of them. “The humor has moved beyond ‘husband and wife’ jokes and our work should now be about real issues and telling a story from a unique perspective. There has never been more depth expected from actors. Actors are now storytellers.