It was back in 1984 that the first comedy show, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, was aired on the small screen in India. While TV audiences have had something to laugh with serials like Dekh Bhai Dekh, Tu Tu Main Main, Ulta Pulta, Flop Show, Shriman Shrimati, Office Office, Khichdi and the seemingly never-ending Taarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashmah over these three-and-a-half decades, a number of talent shows have ensured the standard of comedians, stand-up artistes and anchors is the best among the best. Raju Srivastava, Kapil Sharma, Sunil Grover, Bharti Singh, Sudesh Lahiri, Krushna Abhishek, Sugandha Mishra and Kiku Sharda are some these gifted artists who have made it big on the comedy platform.
In yet another effort to ensure that the smile never fades from the faces of Indian television audiences, popular comedy talent show Vigo Video Comedy Mahasabha announced its winners – UP Ke Ustaad.
Vigo Video Comedy Mahasabha is a popular comedy series on the web and has had thousands of viewers across the country hooked on to it. The show, a hunt for the Comedy Capital of India, featured 12 Vigo comedy creators across Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Kolkata.
Judged by popular actors and comedians Paritosh Tripathi and Monalisa, Team UP Ke Ustaad comprising Royal Raza, Akbar Ahmed and Rishiraj Mishra took away the honours from Team Bihar Ke Lal comprising DK Nayak, Rocky Superstar, and Nishu Tiwari.
Talking about his experience at Comedy Mahasabha, Rishiraj Mishra, who hails from Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh, says, “It is an amazing feeling for someone who just made videos and posted them on social media channels to have stepped out on such a big stage in a metropolitan city like Mumbai and won it too.” For Mishra, a civil engineer by profession, the feeling of having won is yet to sink in, and he credits his two co-contestants, Royal Raza and Akbar Ahmed for the win.
Mishra started making and posting videos on Vigo Voot on the insistence of some friends around a year-and-a-half ago. “They felt most of my conversations brought a smile to their faces and that I should try a hand at it. And I did. Look, where I have reached today,” says the winner, a passionate actor, who performs regularly in his hometown.
Hailing from Orai in Jalaun district of UP, Royal Raza is a diploma holder in ITI teacher training from Mahoba district and the second member of UP Ke Ustaad. In the absence of vacancies for ITI teachers at present, Raza is adding onto his knowledge and studying more. Having been interested in comedy for long, Raza says he has always been an introvert. In fact, Raza’s family and friends are still shocked on having seen him perform effortlessly on the stage, especially in the finale round. “I credit my friends who advised me to make comedy videos and post them on social media. I was sceptical, but as the videos were made within the four walls of my home, I was okay with it. Then I got a hang of it and now, it is as easy as it can get,” says Raza whose father is an agriculturist and mother a homemaker.
While it was the first time on stage for Mishra and Raza, UP Ke Ustaad’s third team member is a seasoned comedian. Lucknow-based Akbar Ahmed is a member of the Third Wing Theatre Group and has been performing on stage since his schooldays. Most recently, Ahmed played a cameo in Ayushmann Khurrana’s Bala. “The maximum number of roles I get are somewhere related with comedy. But I am a passionate actor who will go out of his way to perform anywhere, anytime,” he says. Ahmed started making videos around eight months back wherein he dresses up as a character which could be inspired from a movie or elsewhere. “But then I wear the same clothes, use the same accessories, and then make an effort to make people laugh and if not, at least, smile.”
Team UP Ke Ustaad performing their winning act; (below) receiving the trophy