Jokes Apart

In the last couple of weeks, I've watched three live comedy acts, a concert by Rabbi Shergill and an Italian film at a very fashionable 15-seater cinema hall in Hauz Khas Village. Sadly, I couldn't fit a jazz performance in Nehru Park or a visit to the fashion week in my super tight cultural schedule. For everyone who's always rueing that Delhi is the deadest big city in the world where nothing fun ever happens (especially when compared to the much "chic-er" Mumbai), it's heartening to see that the Capital's cool quotient is growing almost as quickly as its crime rate. Delhiites are notoriously aggressive, fast to take offence but, finally, they've decided to grow up and occasionally, have a laugh at themselves. We are really funny, you know.

But when I watched Radhika Vaz's one-woman comedy act Unladylike: The Pitfalls of Propriety there were moments, between teary peals of laughter, where I took a quick look around in the Habitat auditorium, worried that some crazed hardliners may jump on stage and attack poor frail Vaz on the pretext of defending traditional Indian values or something. Vaz, 40, is scathingly honest, sparing nobody, least of all herself with her brutally funny monologue about virginity, marriage, boyfriends, husbands, sex and cellulite. Or all the funniest topics in all our lives, anyway. Using humour as a connect, she gently prods, and systematically peels off the many layers of hypocrisy or double standards in modern relationships. One of Vaz's taglines is Crass, crude but never rude. (She should add, 'And certainly not a prude'.) Her show is extremely provocative, drawn from personal experiences and it will strike a chord with anyone who grew up in pre-liberalisation India. Vaz's style is urbane, occasionally startling if not downright shocking for an unexposed Indian audience.

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