comedian Society

Saloni Gaur's videos and avatars raise awareness on things that matter with a pinch of humour

Saloni Gaur’s impersonation of Kangana Ranaut   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

It is hard not to miss Saloni Gaur’s alter ego — Nazma aapi and her rants on social media. Wrapped in a black shawl, wearing a deadpan expression and sporting an Old Delhi accent, she comments on political and current issues in her videos with a pinch of humour.

She takes pot shots on trending topics — from double standards in society to fake news. A Delhi University student, Saloni as a comedian has built a loyal following with over two lakh followers on Twitter and five lakh on Instagram. Saloni’s other funny avatars — desi aunties, adarsh bahu (inspired by an ‘aadarsh bahu’ character from a daily soap that her mother used to watch. Confined to the kitchen, the ‘bahu’ spoke of her ideal life) and impersonations of Kangana Ranaut deliver much-needed laughs.

Student-turned-comedian

Having recently given her Delhi University BA final year online exams in August, Saloni returned to her hometown Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh to live with her parents and brother.

A born performer, she says, “I just needed four friends and would begin to entertain them by mimicking the principal or teachers. I can’t sit quietly; I have to make them laugh.” Nevertheless, she adds that her success was a surprise.

In a phone interview, she explains how she had decided to work in a bank (“my mother wanted me to to be a banker so that she doesn’t have to wait in queues to update her passbook”) and make comedy an alternative career because she did not want to face the struggles some stand-up comedians do. “Fortunately that didn’t happen,” she adds.

She began her Instagram and Snapchat journey in 2017 with her first character Pinky Dogra, created using a Snapchat filter and a random name. Pinky used to rant about anything and everything from Saloni’s observations in Delhi . Her other characters Kumkum and Asha behenji too were fun, but did not have a story of their own like Nagma aapi. “I was clear about Nagma aapi’s character sketch,” recalls Saloni, who used to wander around Old Delhi and picked up a few words there. She then prepared a background story for Nagma aapi — she lives with her husband and their two kids. Nagma’s persona is not inspired by anyone, but when the character and her rants became famous, Saloni got to know that it is the Begumati dialect spoken in Old Delhi.

Saloni Gaur

Saloni Gaur   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Nagma aapi has so far ranted on around 40 subjects, including NEET and JEE, protests in the US, violence against doctors during COVID-19, opening of liquor shops and Arnab versus Sonia Gandhi. Being a student of Political Science and Economics, Saloni she says she cannot ignore things happenings around her. “I feel there are certain issues that we should speak up about. If I feel many people are not aware of a current issue, I make a video. When I talk about them with a dash of humour, they understand it better,” she adds.

Ups and downs

Not all her posts are welcomed by social media users: Saloni also had to get used to being trolled. “My brother calls them keyboard warriors who try to pull people down. I have learnt to ignore and deal with them by not dealing with them at all,” she says.

Saloni’s mother is excited with her social media status. “She doesn’t understand the numbers, but reads all comments posted to my videos and even wants to reply to them,” she says with a laugh.

Saloni has created 11 characters and does not follow any set rules to develop new ones. Her latest prop is a moustache to use when playing male characters, and she is also also doing Maa Ke Haath ka reviews for Amazon Prime. She signs off with a promise: ‘Something new is cooking and will be out soon.’

(You can follow Saloni on the “salonayyy” YouTube channel or @salonayyy Instagram handle)

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 10:10:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/saloni-gaurs-videos-and-various-avatars-raise-awareness-on-things-that-matter-with-a-pinch-of-humour/article32668464.ece

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