A barrel of laughs

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Raju Srinivasan is at his hilarious best, keeping the audience in splits and wanting more. PREETI JABBAL reports

Once in a while you go to an event with no expectations and hardly any hype, and it turns out to be an absolute delight. My cheeks are still hurting from laughing as much as I did at the Raju Srivastava Comedy show held recently at the iconic Melbourne Convention Centre. Quite surprisingly, it worked like instant therapy for me as Raju’s comical wit erased the fatigue of an overcommitted schedule. I went in feeling concerned that the event was being held on a Sunday evening and that too on Father’s Day; however in hindsight, that was probably the best gift one could have given to their father: the gift of laughter.

Raju Srivastava shot to fame on Indian television with the comedy talent show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and later went on to participate in the reality show, Big Boss 3. Since becoming the unofficial ‘king of comedy’, he has done innumerable stage shows and supporting roles in Indian movies like Tezaab, Baazigar, Big Brother, Maine Pyaar Kiya, Main Prem Ki Diwani hoon, Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rapaiyya etc. Raju’s satiric humour has regaled audiences around the globe and his show in Melbourne was an interwoven tapestry of wit and brilliant comedy.

The highlight of the show was his rib-tickling take on fashion shows and models. As he executed the perfect catwalk and paused for some completely ‘over the top’ effect, the audience was in splits, wanting more. His famous character Gajodhar Bhaiya (inspired by his barber) surfaced occasionally much to the delight of those who were familiar with his work. The gags continued through the night, and not many of them fell flat. Raju strayed into topical territories from adventurous train rides in Mumbai to the economical Tata Nano.  The topics were not necessarily new and the jokes were not belly-shaking, but they were delivered with engaging authenticity.

Accompanying artists Irfan Malik and Ali Hassan from Pakistan, also known as the ‘Thaka Thak Jodi’, provided the slapstick element to the show. Their material was wide and they occasionally crossed the borders of good taste, but the pair was energetic and likeable and their humour was lighthearted. Complementing the entertainment were performances from local artists Main Nachungi Dance Group and singer Nawal Moudgil. It was a debut show for the organisers Futuristic Events, and they could well have chosen a smaller venue or a better date; however their choice of artist was faultless as it was pure entertainment to watch Raju Srivastava’s observational stand up routine. Vinayak Kolape from Futuristic Event thanked the audience for attending the event and supporting their first venture. Moti Vista from Beyond India was a major sponsor of the event. The show may not have been packed with people, but was choc-a-bloc with laughs.

 

Photos: Ravinder Singh Jabbal