Comics Sumukhi Suresh and Niveditha Prakasam team up for 'Don’t Tell Amma'


Stand up for some truths and laughter: Comics Sumukhi Suresh and Niveditha Prakasam have teamed up for the first time and are all set to raid Madurai on Saturday with Don’t Tell Amma

Both the girls have a Madurai connection. And they can’t wait to quell their anxieties to perform here. “I have heard a lot about the city, it’s my dad’s favourite. My parents lived here briefly before they moved to Kochi and then to Nagpur where I was born. This will be my first visit and I have been warned about the temple town’s conservatism,” says Sumukhi Suresh over a phone call from Mumbai, where she was in between her writing sessions for a new set late in the night. She bursts with the same rapidfire energy she brings on stage each time.

She has been touring for last four months with her first stand-up show Don’t tell Amma. “This is my last leg of travel before it streams on Amazon Prime on December 20, and I wanted to include a new and a Tier II city in the itinerary,” she says and is thrilled about wowing Madurai with jokes, she whispers, that you shouldn’t tell your mother!

Comics Sumukhi Suresh and Niveditha Prakasam team up for 'Don’t Tell Amma'

Sumukhi has made it to every genre of comedy from improv, sketch, stand up and even scripted, directed and acted in web series. But she feels her best is yet to come. Her humility speaks much like all the truths she shares during her performances. “I always have honest stories to tell. And all my stories are usually based on my observations. I do not and cannot fake to please the audience,” she says.

In her one-hour stand up show -- that is already sold-out, Sumukhi says, she will share her real life incidents. Essentially in English, she will mix it with a smattering of Tamil and Hindi. “I am a spontaneous performer and tweak my script on-the-spot based on audience reactions,” says Sumukhi, who also believes if you are affable and do not think yourself as superior than the audience, then everyone likes you and everything that you do.

Comics Sumukhi Suresh and Niveditha Prakasam team up for 'Don’t Tell Amma'

Ask her if that is what has taken her to stardom at the national level in such a short time, and she says five years ago when she quit her job in a food lab in Bengaluru and moved to Mumbai, she was not sure where stand up comedy would lead her. She remains equally grounded even today and believes everybody has space in the big world of comedy. But it is her hard work, aggression, self-criticism and consistency that have helped her to evolve.

“All these qualities come from my mother. I am very fascinated by her as a character,” says Sumukhi and adds, how for three years she hid from her mother about quitting her job and taking to comedy shows on stage. “I know she is intuitive like all mothers are and must have guessed it too but never once did she ask me till I told her.”

In many ways her parents’ strained relationship with her comedy feature in her shows, of course in a humorous way. Right now it is my mother’s frustration over not finding prospective grooms for me and the city audience will get a glimpse of what perhaps happens inside many orthodox families and laugh their guts out.

The social influencer that she is, Sumukhi says it is very important to have free and open discussions in a society and wants more women to write shows and make videos. “The ratio of men and women comics is skewed and I feel, a lot of us girls are good to go,” she says. Her upcoming act will affirm that. “What I do is not work. I am a story teller and I get to have fun every day,” says Sumukhi and adds, “relevancy has an age, not comedy.”

For Coimbatore girl, Niveditha Prakasam, Madurai holds childhood memories. She used to come during holidays to her grandparents in Sholavandan while she was schooling in Nigeria and later during her college education in Coimbatore. She too is excited to share her childhood experiences in the opening act for Sumukhi’s show. “We are on the same page. We speak the truth and thrive on honesty and both youngsters and seniors relate to us,” she says.

Niveditha will intersperse her 20 minutes act in Madurai with Tamil words, lines and references for the audience connect. Having travelled widely, she feels audiences in smaller towns are equally open-minded now and welcome stand-up comedy as an art form. “It is new to our country but women have stepped into it fairly early unlike several other professions,” she says, and that is what gave a ‘shy girl in school’ like her the confidence to participate in open mics in Chennai and later win the Queen of Comedies title in 2017.

It was enough for her to quit her job as automobile engineer with Mahindra group in Chennai and shift to Mumbai for bigger opportunities. “My parents are okay with my choice. They watched other comics before they saw me work towards it and later watched my shows. They have accepted me as an entertainer. But I still feel afraid when my parents watch my show live. I usually dissuade them,” says the 30-year-old, who finds comedy a friendly and live art.

“Each room we perform in is different and that is from where more perspectives emerge,” she says.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 5:52:17 AM |

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