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)