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‘Unbelievable’ of Vir Das more than just laughing at Indian accent

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Image source: www.youtube.com

By Urvashi Verma

Mumbai: Vir Das, one of the top standup comedians, and Bollywood actor will perform his sold-out show “Unbelievable” as part of the largest domestic comedy tour by any comedian from India at the Chicago Improv Theater March 24-26 in Schaumburg, Ill.

After a successful and sold-out tour, last fall in North American cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the actor and comedian has returned with “Unbelievable”. The show is an extension of Das’s tour “Unbelievablish,” which has been a roaring success across 17 cities in India, along with Dubai and Singapore, which contributed to the sale of over half a million tickets in his home country for his stand-up.

Das seems to have developed a special kind of “cult” following, which catapulted him into one of India’s biggest names in comedy. Since 2003 Das has performed over 100 comedy shows in all the major cities and debuted six 90-minute comedy specials written by him, at the India Habitat center to audiences of over 900 a night, including ‘Brown Men Can’t Hump’, ‘Not for Members Only’, ‘Bored of The Things’ and ‘Who Let the Das Out?. Each of his shows has sold out within a matter of days.

Das, who trained at the Stanislavsky Program of Moscow Arts Theatre in acting was tired of doing dramatic pieces and embarked upon comedy. “My entry into comedy was quite accidental. I was doing such heavy dramatic pieces at Stanislavsky that I decided that I wanted to do something really fun; so I started writing comedy and my first show was a 90- minute performance in front of 800 people in college. I’m not sure how good it was but it got me started on the path.” Das told in an interview.

Through his live shows, ‘Unbelievablish’, ‘The History of India’ and ‘Battle of the Sexes’, Das has infiltrated the Indian Diaspora. The ‘Unbelievable’ North America tour, which consisted of six cities: San Jose, Vancouver, Tempe, Ontario, Washington DC, is culminating in Chicago and much like most of his shows, his Chicago show has been completely sold out for more than three weeks.

“Indian comedy is so much more than a just an Indian accent. With the recent success of comedians Aziz Ansari and Russell Peters, the Indian Diaspora is ready for a comedian from India itself. My authenticity and comedic sense come from observing people and the environment; I am able to pick up on themes that I can use in comedy. As a child I was shy and reserved and it helped me every much because I learned how to observe,” he said.

Das has also had a successful Bollywood career with hit comedies “Badmash Company”; “Delhi Belly” which cemented his place in Indian comedy and sex comedy “Mastizade”. In 2013 he was seen in more dramatic roles in the critically acclaimed, “Go Goa Gone,” India’s first zombie film and “Revolver Rani”, opposite Kangana Ranaut”.

“Film was a really great way to reaching a broader audience. Since I was not specifically looking for particular kind of film, for me there was nothing wrong with doing a sex comedy film like Mastizade, as everywhere across the world sex is an important aspect of the comedic content,” Das said, adding that “the film has earned far more than anyone of my other films to date. “

Das will next be seen in a family-oriented Bollywood comedy ‘Santa Banta’ with Boman Irani and Johnny Lever. “Boman is one of those actors who is so good that you have to tell yourself to keep acting sometimes when you just want to watch him instead. He is consistently good in every film and every role. This will be a family/kids film with loads of comedy,” he said.

(The article was originally published in newsindiatimes.com)

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Saudi Arabia’s highest ranking Cleric warns of depravity of Cinemas and Musical concerts in the Country

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Crowd enjoying a concert, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Jan 15, 2017: Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-sheikh, in an interview warned of the depravity of cinemas and musical concerts. Saudi Arabia’s highest ranking cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-sheikh while responding to a question about the plans of the kingdom’s General Authority for Entertainment to license concerts and study opening cinemas, gave a statement saying, “Cinemas and music concerts would corrupt morals if allowed in the ultra-conservative kingdom.”

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The head of the Saudi supreme council of clerics said, “Cinemas might show movies that are libertine, lewd, immoral and atheist, because they rely on films imported to change our culture.”

Al-sheikh gave many statements opposing music concerts saying the concerts don’t really promote good music and are not at all a medium to connect with music. He insisted that music entertainment and opening cinemas represent a call for mixing between sexes. Al-sheikh said, “At the beginning they would assign areas for women, but then both men and women will end up in one area. This corrupts morals and destroys values.”

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Recently a show by American stand-up comedian and actor Mike Epps at a university campus in western Saudi Arabia was cancelled last month. However, he also said that entertainment through cultural and scientific media is okay. He urged the authorities, “not to open the doors for the evil.”

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

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Actor-comedian Vir Das will be celebrating 100th show of his stand-up comedy show “History of India” in Singapore

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Actor Vir Das, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Jan 7, 2017: Actor-comedian Vir Das will be celebrating the 100th show of his stand-up comedy show “History of India” in Singapore.

“I’m very excited to be presenting the 100th show in Singapore. You need not be Indian to like butter chicken, Bollywood, cricket or history of India. History depends totally on your historian. Who says your historian can’t be as twisted as your history,” Vir said in a statement.

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The show will be held on January 14 at Esplanade Theatre. Vir, along with Kavi Shashtri, will be celebrating their 100th show of one of the longest running AGP World productions “History of India”.

Producer Ashvin Gidwani also said: “With the Singapore show we will be giving to the country its first international Indian comedian. The whole format of the show is designed with localised content apart from references to the Indian history books. After this show, we will also be exploring a US tour.” (IANS)

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Movies create Dull Brains or Creative Genius? Let’s Find Out!

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Children Watching TV, Wikimedia

November 11, 2016: Movies have become a very prominent and important source of entertainment. There has been a tremendous increase in movie releases in the twenty-first century. Be it romance, horror, tragedy; movies have explored very many emotions and molded them into various shapes depending on the era and audience.

Studies have revealed that adrenaline junkies get pleasure being scared by horror movies, this may result to risking of physical and mental health unknowingly. An intense scene in a movie causes an increase in blood pressure that might lead to a heart attack to people with cardiovascular weaknesses.

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Repressed traumatic memories often dredge up with a sudden spike in adrenaline and cortisone level on watching horror movies. With the change of our brain chemistry, it reminds us of that time which suffered the similar state, even if one has no idea about it. Thus if one had any terrifying memory in the past, getting scared can again rejuvenate it again.

Tearjerkers should be avoided if someone had suffered a depression. The tragic parts of a movie have often ruminated by individuals with prior depression. This can result in returning back to the previous depressed state.

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Movies are not only replete with negative sway over its audience, otherwise, it would have been banned till date. But with its wide proliferation, it can be guessed that there are some positive features as well. Health benefits are also associated with movies. For

Health benefits are also associated with movies. For example: Baby’s Day Out, a comedy movie helps in lowering blood pressure. Intense laughter for 15 minutes during a film has the same effect on our cardiovascular system as exercising.

Even porn films can improve our health. A report mentions that “Watching Porn Makes  Your Brain Shut Down” in case of a female-friendly porn, but an intense study have shown that those parts are the ones none of us really want going a mile a minute anyway. The main area to “shut down” controlled anxiety.

Sad movies also have similar effects on brain. After watching a sad movie we generally tend to come out of it thinking about our loved ones and feeling happy with what we have. Movies like “Striped pyjamas,” where one can relate to the tragic situation of the child protagonist and it was seen that the audience, especially children looked happier as they felt they are in a safer environment.

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Apart from health benefits, it is needless to say that movies also help in enhancing one’s creative talents. A study showed that young children who watched ‘Alice in Wonderland’, especially the ones involved with magic, scored significantly higher on a creative thinking test than children who had watched something else. Magical movies often tend to enhance creativity and at times work as a problem solver agent.

Movies can be categorized into two types- one for entertainment purpose and other for learning purpose. Thoughtful movies often possess a magical quality and it will force the audience to think about the topic thoroughly even when one goes out of the movie hall.

Movies like ‘SHOBDO’, ‘NIL BATE SANNATA’, ‘PANTHER PANCHALI’, ‘MONALISA SMILE’, these movies are not made for just entertainment purpose. They are more of thought invoking stories and contains important social message. However, there are very limited audience of these movies yet they bring in very impactful message.

Parents, scientists, politicians often criticize entertainment channels for garnering violence to young minds. Studies have also proven the same thing. Watching aggression on screen can contribute to being a bully in real life, even if for a limited period of time.

A study of 250 women found that when they watched clips of violence, bullying, or even just malicious gossiping and testing them and after some time, the results were amazing. The women were more likely to place importance subconsciously, on words describing violence or aggression. There are people on both sides of the argument and each tends to produce extremism in their theories.

One side is the view that these aggressions produce killers, whereas, the other side casually let it down saying that it has no effect at all. With the coming of new theories, the answer somewhere lies in the middle!

–  by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon