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Laugh it Off

Shekhar Suman on why India desperately needs to grin and giggle

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: July 27, 2012 12:38 am

Shekhar Suman on why India desperately needs to grin and giggle

Forget the apple. If Shekhar Suman had his way,his prescription for all ailments human would be a smile a day. And the dosage would read something like this — a peg of giggle and grin tonic before bed,flex those mouth muscles with a smile every hour,pump the blood with a loud laugh every two hours,kick the stress and up the energy levels with a cheer and chuckle. “We all have forgotten to laugh. I feel a smile takes you a long way and can solve all problems,” says Suman. The ‘Sultan of Satire’ was in the city to talk about his new show Laugh India Laugh currently airing on Life Ok. He was accompanied by Chandigarh contestant Rajiv Goldy.

Appearing as a judge on a stand up comedy show after a long time,Suman says that there was a need to bring quality humour to the small screen. “There is woman bashing,subtle abuse,dirty talk,vulgarity and double entendres on laughter shows,and we wanted to break free from that. Laugh India Laugh is all about life,about finding humour in inflation,corruption,recession and politics,” tells Suman. Starting with 22 contestants on board,now down to 16,from India and Pakistan,the show is a platform for stand up comedians. “Comedian is a very lightweight word. It undermines their talent. These people are stand up comics,performers,entertainers,actors and all-rounders in a craft that does not come easily to everyone,” defends Suman. Looking to change the definition of comedy and humour,he says,“I love satire,and I look for intelligence,perspective,originality and style in a comic. His or her choice of subject,the little nuances,the subtext,their personality,the clarity and line of thought,body language — a stand up comic act is a lone ranger’s job and one needs to be in sur,laya and taal for it,” Suman prattles on.

His latest find has been Chandigarh’s Goldy. After doing stand up comic events in and around the city,Goldy sent his DVD to the channel and got selected. Goldy’s inspiration is his mother. “A true Punjaban,she is a hazir jawaab and I picked that up,” says Goldy.

With this show,Suman is confident that men have got something to de-stress with. “Television unfortunately has become so regressive with all the drama,the crying and the middle-class family politics. Serials look the same with excess make up and exaggerated characters and storylines that it has now become a race for TRP — Tear Rating Points,” says Suman,who feels that television’s “cleansing process has begun” and it is time that channels give up these soppy soaps and move forward with smart programming. “It is time that women stop crying and take charge of their lives,” adds Suman. According to him,the number of women comics is far and between because “it is un-ladylike to laugh out loud or crack jokes”. “I personally feel women have a great sense of humour,” he quips.

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