Cyrus Broacha says he considers himself an out-of-work actor, a part-time writer, who doesn’t take things too seriously
It’s not Hamlet, and it may not increase Yeddyurappa’s chances of coming back into the fold, but hopefully, people will have a good time, said Cyrus Broacha ahead of his recent show at The Hotel Lalit Ashok.
“I don’t like to use the word stand-up because then I feel you have to stand for long periods and my show is about passing time and having fun. It’s like an extension of the college canteen with richer ,” he says.
“Of course, there are a lot of things we can’t do. We can’t be politically too incorrect because this is a large audience as against a bar. Stand-up in India is a large canvas which is catching on at least in three or four cities here, even in regional languages like Hindi. But I think of stand up more as something of an intimate interaction in a bar or small setting, where you have 40-50 people. This is more of a show.”
He was the face of MTV Bakra and now hosts The Week That Wasn’t every week on a national television channel. Is he then an entertainer?
“I don’t know because I’m just in the entertainment business and labels really don’t matter at the end of the day. This is just, let’s face it, escapism, people just have a good time and even if there’s a little sense of satire it’s not going to be very profound. I’m an out of work actor, a part time writer. I just do whatever I’m told. I don’t try to analyze much because I think then you start taking it seriously and you lose the fun of it.”
He describes what he does as just drama where some bits are planned, some just happen and the audience is a part of it all. “I think we have a new format here. This new form of entertainment that has been around for the five years allows the audience to be interactive. All along in India we have had a very passive audience. Now there is a young vibrant audience which will give comments back. So the whole form will be different and I am part of this circus,” he says.
“It’s fun for me as an entertainer because I don’t know what’s going to happen, just like Chandrasekhar who didn’t know what he was bowling but managed 242 wickets.”
That’s also how Cyrus, who is trained in theatre, says comedy happened to him. “I didn’t have a choice. I was studying law and in the middle I started doing plays and because of the MTV boom in the 90s, I started working there. I’m yet to complete my law degree which I would have done if I was in Bangalore because I think it’s a shorter course here,” he says.
“I thought I’d take a few months at a time. But once I had to travel to the north east for 15 days for a shoot for which I had to miss one exam in my law college and when I came back, they’d put me on the black list . I thought I’d just take a year off and see how it goes. One year became two, I began earning more than my dad and suddenly it was 16 years in the business. Going back to law school was always at the back of my mind, I can still go back if times are hard.”
Not to worry, because Cyrus sees a great future for comedy in India.
“There is a lot more talent than when I started out, and it will only get better. Logically speaking, cricket in the early days came from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata and now you can see all the b-towns and c-towns producing cricketers. It’s the same with English comedy. What people don’t understand is that urban India is becoming bigger and everybody is studying English and because of the net they are used to all these great inspirational names,” he shoots off in his inimitable style
“And now we have female comics coming up and speaking their minds. It’s time men are put in their place. They think only they can make sex jokes, do you know how uncomfortable men feel when women make sex jokes? I have just got to see that. We have enough talent, but what we should worry about is our politicians.”
In fact, what Cyrus now wants is a Rajya Sabha ticket, for the nice accommodation, with no worries about living. Meanwhile he would also like a bigger show. “I’d like to add a little more political satire with wigs and costumes and more people. It’s good because we’re on top of the news with my show, I’m always clued in and it’s not difficult to find humour in Indian politics. In our country, we’d probably kill ourselves if we can’t laugh, just too many things go wrong.”