The Esplanade Presents ›› Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts › back to home

Tickets on sale 1 Sep 09


25 Nov 09, WED
26 Nov 09, THU

60mins, no intermission
Concessions for students, NSF and senior citizens

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Esplanade Recital Studio

  1. Synopsis
  2. Biography

From Indian James Bonds and mothers-in-law to sarees, Indian first dates and the many uses of the expression “ooy”… stand-up comic and actor Vir Das finds in anything and everything Indian material for his unique brand of irreverent humour. Welcome one of the rising stars of the young Indian stand-up comedy scene, set to take on the world with an internationally-touring comedy show.

A Hot New Trend

Modern stand-up comedy is relatively new to India, being an import from North America that only took hold in India’s increasingly globalised entertainment scene in the last decade or so. Since then, comedy clubs, festivals, TV shows and open-mic nights have mushroomed in India, and more and more Indian stand-up comic talents have emerged.

Among them is rising star Vir Das. Since his return from the USA to India in 2003, the 30-year-old has created and performed over 200 stand-up comedy shows and seven comedy specials, acted in eight TV shows, five movies and 35 plays, cut a music album and launched fashion line. Most importantly, he has helped make stand-up comedy a respectable, even desirable, profession in India, while promoting Indian stand-up comedy to an international audience with his new desi-flavoured comedy act, Walking on Broken Das, now touring the world.

Now more and more people are catching Vir fever and giving him glowing reviews for everything from his socially-relevant jokes to his boyish good looks. The Indian Express has dubbed him “a comedian to watch out for” and “India's Answer to Jay Leno”. The Hindustan Times calls him 'simply hysterical'. The Pioneer has called him “The Funniest Kid in India”. Verve has called him “India's only true comic”. And Vir has also been listed by Delhi Times as one of Delhi's “Top Ten Dream Men”.

Having performed to a full house at Kalaa Utsavam 2007, Vir Das will, once again, explore the globalised Indian identity and many other grave issues with naughty jokes, hilarious impressions, laugh-a-minute songs and silly anecdotes in Who Let the Das Out?. Don’t wait till this one sells out too…

“Vir Das' name brings a naughty smile [to] many faces. And when on stage, he replaces all smiles with full-throated laughter...He was in town to entertain. And that is exactly what he did." -Deccan Herald
Vir Saran Das began his acting training in 1999 when he left India for Knox College in Illinois, USA to study Economics and Theatre with a concentration in performance. There, he was given a Richter Scholarship for Theatre and the Colton Performance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting, and went on after graduation from Knox to join the Harvard University’s Stanislavsky Program in coalition with the Moscow Arts Theatre.

It was at Knox that Vir first explored stand-up comedy with his first special Brown Men Can't Hump. During his time in the USA, Vir was a cast member in three sketch comedy troupes, The Really Useless Improv, Improv Inc and Illegal Aliens, for which he performed, wrote and developed comedy sketches in the style of Whose Line is it Anyway?. He also performed as a ship comedian aboard carnival cruise liners between Houston and Mexico, and worked the comedy clubs in Chicago.

Vir returned to India in April 2003 and has since performed over 200 comedy shows in all of the major cities. He debuted six comedy specials written, directed by and starring himself at the India Habitat centre in New Delhi. These include Brown Men Can't Hump, Not for Members Only, Bored of The Things!, Who Let the Das Out?, and Son of a Switch! and VIRagra. Every one of these shows sold out within days.

His seventh comedy special, Walking on Broken Das, similarly sold out at the India Habitat Center, had a sold-out tour in Mumbai, selling over 6,500 tickets in five weeks, and began its world tour this year. For his new show, Vir created different comedic characters and he is experimenting with different styles of stand-up for the first time. He performs spiritual comedy with his character Mystro Ravi Darsaan. His band Alien Chutney performs musical comedy rock onstage. And he also does anecdotal comedy dressed as an 80-year old woman named Sara Sarabhai.

But his acts are not limited to the stage. Vir’s hosting of two TV shows on Zoom Channel marked the start of his TV career. These were Is Route Ki Sabhin Linein Maast Hain and his own late-night stand-up comedy show Ek Rahin Vir. Although early for their time, they got noticed and put Vir on the comedic map in India.

Since then, Vir has also hosted Top Drive Getaway for Star World, Cricket Firsts, a sports comedy show on Zee Sports and performed improvisational comedy on SAB TV's Lo Kal Lo Baat, The Great Indian Comedy Show on Star One, Now Not Showing on CNN-IBN and, most importantly, News on the Loose, his own news comedy show on CNBC. The show is a huge hit amongst the Indian audiences for its fearless brand of intelligent comedy and was spawned a weekly half-hour special, News on the Loose - Weekend on CNBC TV18, also a hit.

With about 35 plays, over 200 stand-up comedy shows, eight TV shows, five movies, seven comedy specials, a music album and fashion line to his name, 30-year old Vir is certainly keeping busy. He currently fills up any spare time writing comedic columns for Femina, Maxim, Exotica, DNA and Tehelka.

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