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Stand-up comedian and writer Sorabh Pant has addressed some crucial socio-political issues via his acts, and he feels in the multilingual country his regional counterparts can do the same.
Hailed as the "second brilliant Indian comedian I've seen, after Russell Peters" by American actor-singer-comedian Wayne Brady, Pant founded the popular comedy group The East India Comedy in 2012.
"The big thing is going to happen when a lot more regional language comedians come up and start talking about issues in their regional language. You need a Marathi comedian talking about Maharashtra, a Kannadiga and so on, who can talk passionately about that stuff because India is... we are confidently masquerading as a country, the language is a barrier," Pant told IANS while he was here for a show organised by comedy staging venture Punchliners in Gurugram.
"I think once regional comedians need to step up and start talking even more. It would change things. I was listening to Kavi 'sammalen' (gathering of poets) the other day. They were pretty on the loose about the criticism of (PM Narendra) Modi and other issues. That is how it should be. It should be the thing where you are allowed to make fun and offend a little bit," he added.
With his current project "#RantOfThePant", Pant has taken up the task to address all hot topics and situations that have been brewing in the nation.
He has been releasing one stand-up video a week on different topics like fairness cream endorsers and how Indians are racist towards themselves, religion and noise pollution, sanitary pads and school and Air India versus Ravindra Gaikwad.
Pant believes freedom of speech is not being muffled, but "it is just being threatened by people who have no authority to threaten it".
"Some random idiots in some city in the country filed an FIR against somebody for whatever reason which is usually some political... The number of threats you get... People think it's funny," he said.
"Sometimes they say 'tujhe toh pitna chaiye yaar (you should get beaten up) what a joke'. No part of that is funny! It's a realistic scenario right now in India. But anyway, we have been a bit under the radar with regards to this stuff.
"The only reason I think twice about anything which is related to the Indian politicians...I want to make sure that I am not saying anything that is incorrect. In the videos, the idea is to focus on the positive side of the politicians as well.
"I will criticise Narendera Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi, but I am also going to figure out their positive side to keep it balanced because all three of them have quite a vast number of supporters in the country and it is little unfair to disrespect them," he added.
On the flip side, Pant says that whatever the scenario is, even if he explores the positive side, there will still be a lot of people who will call him names.
"Someone will call me a Congressy... all that derogatory nonsense is still going to happen and the thing is you got to let it slide over your back," Pant said.
Pant, who has also penned novels like "Wednesday Soul" and "Under Delhi", is coming up with his third novel by the end of this year.
(Kishori Sud can be contacted at email@example.com)