[EXCLUSIVE] The nation wanted to know & here we are with Biswapati Sarkar!

Its difficult to match an interview upto Arnub’s standards but we managed to get the serious side of Arnub talking here (and that’s not our excuse 😉 ). Biswapati Sarkar opened up on how he got the role of Arnub. It might sound like a Bollywood cliche moment really. The Actor who was supposed to play Arnub’s role didn’t turn up & he just owned the show! Ok now, Let’s get back to some serious shit, we hope you won’t get offended! [kidding] 😀

Tell us about the journey of becoming one of the most popular comedians whose voice resonates with the masses. What drives you?

I don’t think we reach the masses but yes, internet masses, may be. What drives me… I think is just the fact that we like doing it..  I like doing this… I like writing… I like directing. I think it’s just that simple. And again, the idea is to have a career and to be prepared to give the next 40 years my life doing this. So, I think it’s important to take the right step one after the other, keep doing it, keep bettering yourself towards being a better writer, a better director, a better actor. That’s it.

What all hurdles did you face while reaching where you stand today?

arnub2Family pressure was definitely there. Especially after engineering from an IIT, nobody expects you to jump in this field. I told my parents that this not really film-making, but advertising, marketing. I used those terms to have my way and managed to reach Bombay. That’s when some internet videos started coming out and a few went viral. Some articles about me started popping up in newspapers and the money started to come. In about two years, the parents realized that I had sustained myself and was almost at par where I would have been if I had taken a conventional job. I think that’s where they got convinced. Ultimately, parents have your best interest in mind, they just feel you are delusional or you are not good enough and people will fool you and exploit you. It takes some time but they do change their minds.

Comedy in India is still not much appreciated except if you are Kapil Sharma. Why do you think is the reason behind the popularity of some comedians who make sexist and/or racist jokes, while some intelligent comedians are attacked?

I think that definition is different for  a lot of people. We are a very funny country with very little sense of humour, we don’t have a sense of humour. We get offended too easily. The things that you are talking about might be funny to some people, this goes across genres. Not only comedy, there is also a lack of intelligent content for an educated guy in India. There is a lot of Indian content which I wouldn’t call intelligent but just basic…good quality content does not exist. The mainstream content is way below par compared to any other country and we can’t be proud of it. For example, I was just watching a 40s comedy the other day by Marx brothers, it’s called 1930 Annual Farm. What they have done 80 years back is something which we haven’t done till date and Annual Farm or Duck Suits, these were political satires told in 1930s. We were going well…we had Movers and Shakers and stuff like that in the 90s but after that all of that was deteriorated.

Recently there was the case of AIB roast and Kiku was arrested and even Tanmay Bhatt was attacked for his video mocking Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar. What’s your take on that?

My take is of course that people need to just calm down. They need  to understand that these are jokes and nobody means them seriously and if a culture is so fragile that it can be broken by a couple of jokes, then it’s not a great country. I understand that as a fan, a lot of people might feel hurt and offended. They have the power to comment on you or write a blog or make a video against you but threatening to kill or throw in jail…that is nonsense, pure nonsense.

Who according to you is the best comedian of all times?

Of all times…it’s very difficult to single out one, but one stand-up comedian I really enjoy is Seinfeld. I think he comes closest to the best that we had – George Carlin or Richard Pryor. Among the current comedians, there’s a 25-26 year old guy named Bo Burnham and he’s actually completely revamped the entire stand-up comedy scenario. But my all time favourite would be Seinfeld.

Fill in the blanks: Comedy comes best from _____?

Angst. when you are really pissed off at something and that translates to cynicism and usually it ends there for a lot of people but for a comedy writer cynicism has to be converted into anger. So anger to cynicism, cynicism to humour I think Angst is the best form of comedy.

Your version of Arnub became quite popular. What other characters do you think comedians can play in the political scenario?

biswapati1I really find Narendra Modi very funny. It’s right out there and I have practiced his voice a lot but I don’t think I will be doing it. I think Narendra Modi is right up there for jokes and I think there are a lot of jokes already but we haven’t really seen a proper caricature of
somebody playing it. So that is something which I’ll be here to look for.

Will you play it?

I don’t think so I don’t have the time right now but I really want to.

What are the challenges that you face as a comedian on a daily basis?

I think it’s just…hard work. I’m not the funny guy. Most of the comics you will meet will not be out-rightly funny, like nobody cracks a joke and the image of a stand-up comedian is that. If you are a comedy writer like me or if you hang around with them, you’ll always be happy as they crack jokes. But Ishaan is with me for the past 12 hours and he’s bored to death. So it’s just that you have to sit down and you have to think what’s funny, you have to write it down and then write out to people and get their feedback and it’s just hard work… that’s it.

biswapati2If you would be given one super power what would it be?

One super power… not sleep. If I could just not sleep or somehow, just take 6 hours worth of sleep in a second, that would be a super power that would give me a lot of time to work and even spend time with the people I like.

Are you afraid of censorship?

I am, especially on the web. Currently, there’s no censorship on web and you get very used to that sort of writing. I’m not just talking about abuses, there is a lot of  freedom in terms of not only slangs, but also in terms of just taking names of well-known people directly. The only fear is in case there’s some sort of censorship, every writer has to take it over things like you shouldn’t be sexist, even if it’s just really funny, shouldn’t make fun of a community. The kind of censorship there is in cinema and TV, I don’t mean that’s the only reason why they’re not doing well, but it is a reason and I really don’t want the censorship to come to web, which can happen and I am really scared that will really destroy a lot of things.

That’d be it. Thank you.

Credits: Siddhi Jain (A Member of DU Times – The Interviewee), Sanskriti Tomar (For all the intelligent questions)

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