‘It’s tough to marry Kashmir with comedy’

Six months after the abrogation of Article 370, Mohit Sharma’s standup special seems almost perfectly timed.

Published: 16th January 2020 06:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2020 06:40 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Six months after the abrogation of Article 370, Mohit Sharma’s standup special seems almost perfectly timed. The Srinagar-born actor and standup artiste’s upcoming 70-minute show uses the purview of Kashmir to discuss a range of issues, from the recent changes in Jammu and Kashmir, to global politics. Starring Sharma himself, the show also features a guest appearance by, as he puts it, Pakistan, China, Jannat, Jihad, UN, US, Bollywood, Google Maps, media and India.

“Just like Charlie Chaplin spoke about Hitler through comedy, other complex matters can also be explored in the simplest of ways through a humorous approach,” explains Sharma, who now resides in Mumbai and will be in Bengaluru soon for this show. “Besides, this medium also allows us some liberty,” he adds. 

Take, for example, his comparison of Kashmir to a beautiful woman, a part of the sketch that received great response at the previous two trial shows he did. “Here, Kashmir knows she’s being wooed by many, and enjoys the benefits, freebies and subsidies that come along with it. But one day, she wakes up old and weary from the conflict,” he says, adding that another part of the sketch compares her to a modern-day Draupadi, one who knows her mind and prefers a live-in relationship or “azaadi” instead of multiple husbands (played by the various countries vying for her attention). 

Having spent 25 years in the region, Sharma’s personal experiences also come into play during the show, including the issue of power theft in Jammu and Kashmir. He also presents his views on Article 370, but aims to do so in as objective a manner as possible. “I hope people see me as a supporter of the government but one who rationally attempts to question them as well,” says the 43-year-old.

The standup artiste began writing the script in April last year, and was ready with a draft for rehearsals in August. In a twist of fate, the day happened to be August 5, which was when Article 370 was repealed by the government. This led to an abandonment of the project for a month before Sharma pursued it again. “It is quite tough to marry Kashmir with comedy. The place that was initially known for tourism is now known for terrorism. In total, I had nine drafts, which is the longest I’ve taken to write any standup set,” he reveals. 

But though challenging, the effort was worth it, he says. Sharma hopes to drive home the point that when it comes to Kashmir, everyone is to be blamed. “We are quick to point fingers at Pakistan, but maybe we should look inwards before we pass the buck,” he says. The show will take place on January 18, 8pm, at Atta Galatta. 

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