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

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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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Bollywood’s Sri Lankan Star Says Entertainment Is A Brutal Bussiness

She promotes the idea of veganism

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Bollywood's Sri Lankan Star Says Entertainment Is A Brutal Bussiness
Bollywood's Sri Lankan Star Says Entertainment Is A Brutal Bussiness, flickr

Bollywood’s Sri Lankan star Jacqueline Fernandez says entertainment is a brutal and unpredictable business where things change every Friday.

Jacqueline, who made her Bollywood debut in 2009 with “Aladin”, is now a mainstream commercial actress, thanks to her successful films like “Kick” and “Judwaa 2”, and hit franchises like “Houseful” and “Race”.
But she says there is “no foolproof formula of success or failure”.

“We are living in a cut-throat world and entertainment is a very brutal business where every Friday things change. There is no foolproof formula of success or failure here, but the result gives you the reality check every week,” Jacqueline told IANS here.

“At times we get demotivated at so many different levels because everything changes on Friday — fans, idea and loyalty. When things go right consistently, we tend to forget that it is a very fickle world where we are just a moment away from the opposite side of success,” she added.

She feels that the brand of films or products that she endorses are a reflection of who she is in real life.

“When it comes to brand endorsement, I do not promote any brand where I do not believe in the product or the ideology of the brand,” said the actress who was honoured by PETA India Awards for Digital Activism.

She also promotes the idea of veganism and “no animal testing” for cosmetic products.

“There were times when I refused to be associated with a brand from where I could have earned a huge amount of money but I knew that I would not use that product. And the fact is that I am very loyal towards my fans. I cannot go and tell my 18 million fans to use something that I do not believe in. I think from the heart.”

So, is that coming from the mind of an actress who takes entertainment as a serious business of image-building or from the heart of an artiste?

“You know I think I am yet to reach a point from where I can call myself an artiste because I have to improve a lot on my craft of acting, but I surely understand the mind of an artiste — which is pure, not calculative or manipulative.

“Yes, there is a risk factor involved in it because, at times, my decision works; at times, it doesn’t… but every result teaches me something,” replied the former beauty queen.

Jacqueline Fernandez
Jacqueline Fernandez, flickr

Jacqueline is playing the character of Jessica and sharing screen space with Salman Khan, Bobby Deol and Anil Kapoor in “Race 3”.

Giving an insight into the thriller, she said: “This is not the continuation of ‘Race 2’. It is a different story of a family where the narration has elements of mystery, power struggle, betrayal and suspense. (IANS)

“Jessica fights hard, her punch is real punch, her gun fight is raw!”

Her character shows the physical strength of a woman in a fight sequence.

“It is great to see that we are getting the opportunity to project ourselves like real fighters and are as strong as our male counterparts. My character fights the way a girl would fight in real life if she is attacked,” said Jacqueline.

Where does Jacqueline see herself after five years?

“I cannot predict because things are changing dramatically in the film industry and I am changing as an actor.

“So for me, while every opportunity takes you one step forward, one wrong decision can take you steps backwards, so I do not plan where I will be after five years. I want to go with the flow,” she replied.

Also read: Indian oceans Rahul Ram doesnt mind working in bollywood

Directed by Remo D’souza, “Race 3” will release on June 15.(VOA)