Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Chandigarh

Varun Grover, uninterrupted

IANS | September 28, 2023 10:16 AM

CHANDIGARH: In the middle of the show, a young man starts shouting, and rushes towards the stage. Armed guards accompanying entitled bureaucrats in Chandigarh even inside the auditorium try stopping him. He gets more agitated. Everyone is expecting the worst. There is an elderly woman accompanying him, she tells something to the guards who are unable to understand. Finally, Varun Grover asks her 'what is the problem' in a low voice, and she answers that her son is special. By then, the young man had climbed up the stage. Grover tells the guards to back off.

Now free, he is suddenly composed, and quietly goes towards the bottle from which Grover had just poured water into his glass. He had left it uncorked. The young man puts on the cork back delicately and starts climbing down. Grover smiles and thanks him.

The audience applauds.

Poet, comic and National award-winning lyricist Varun Grover, who is touring the country with his latest 'Nothing Makes Sense' is getting a full house in almost every city. Chandigarh was no exception. Like always, there was no slapstick but a serious attempt to dissect news that can sometimes get more laughable than any comic's script. He does not spare anyone, yet never hits below the belt -- like the mediocres flooding YouTube with cuss words.

Grover's strength, much more in the face, in his latest work is the ability to bring out absurdity in the seemingly and inventive normal. His attacks on the establishment are not rants but well-researched and calculated arguments. And he knows his theatre too -- the way he derives energy from the audience.

When he calls himself a liberal, you can never get irritated with the over-used word, considering Chandigarh's liberals can give gyaan on politics for hours and will be silenced the moment you ask them the name of their area's MC (admit it, though evil, it is fun to judge). He calls them 'Twitter warriors'.

The man may be the centre of the Left, but he seldom misses a chance to comment on Indian Communists who may not be able to spell 'Das Kapital'.

In an earlier chat with this correspondent, this co-founder of 'Aisi Taisi Democracy', had said, "I am aware of my privileges. If you have them, it is more important to be upfront about taking up challenges that the underprivileged cannot. And yes, there are things that must be talked about, no matter what."

He does precisely that -- from Chandrayaan-3's soft landing to poorly-made government websites, from liberals' echo chambers to the tragedy of the common man, irrespective of the party that governs -- Grover's jokes/comments told mostly with an absolutely straight face do not offend, no matter your political inclination, and have the special quality to cut across deep polarisations.

And perhaps that is the reason he is at the top -- there are no cliches, inside him exists that simple yet rare quality to laugh at himself. He becomes one with the audience -- including the young man who stormed the stage. There is never offence taken. Thus never given.

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