East India Comedy, from left, Sapan Verma, Sahil Shah and Sorabh Pant.
Bollywood producers have long been accused of putting commercially driven senseless plots ahead of good ¬storytelling.
Shah Rukh Khan’s critically panned box office blockbuster Dilwale, for example, was declared worst film of 2015 at this week’s Golden Kela Awards.
While disappointed cinemagoers can do little but complain about wasted time and money, an Indian comedy troupe has found opportunity in Bollywood’s failure.
East India Comedy — which was founded in 2012 and features Sorabh Pant, Sahil Shah and Sapan Verma — hosts a YouTube channel with 337,000 followers. They have created mercilessly witty and opinionated sketches that amusingly illustrate bad Hindi-film reviews from last year.
They will be performing as part of the AKS Nights at Emirates Towers on Friday. Verma says they have no qualms about naming and shaming bad films and filmmakers.
What’s is in store for the UAE audience?
aWe are going to diss all of the horrible Bollywood movies that came out last year. The idea is that it’s us versus Bollywood and we divide the movies into categories. There’s one where we compare Bollywood action films to Hollywood action movies. Sorabh will be rating the children of movie stars who are actors, and we will be giving our two cents on some of the worst songs. I will be joking about plagiarism — did you know Prem Ratan Dhan Payo had a scene copied from Game of Thrones?
So a bad year in Bollywood means a fantastic year for EIC?
Yes, every year 60 per cent of Bollywood films are horrible and 40 per cent are great. Our aim with the show is not to downgrade the industry — we also acknowledge the good movies, such as Talvar, Piku and Badlapur. But there are always some directors who never disappoint when it comes to giving the audience a bad film — such as Sajid Khan.
With the concern about intolerance in India, does it take much to offend people?
I think it’s more the case with content we put online than our offline shows. We can never tell who is watching our content. People tend to get offended online easily. You could have said the nicest thing, but you will find someone to hate you for it. We don’t let it bother us because comedy is about sharing an opinion backed by logical facts, and there will always be an audience for it.
There has been a recent boom of YouTube comedians in India. Is it becoming saturated?
India still has only 40 or so big comedians, compared with the thousands in the United States and United Kingdom. There is a lot of potential and work to go around. I think the younger generation are realising that this needn’t be a hobby and that you can make a career in comedy.
How do you want the comedy scene to develop in India?
There is a need for more venues for comedy, not just in India but Dubai, too. A lot of the comedy happens at bars and restaurants or hired halls. What we need is more comedy clubs.
• EIC vs Bollywood by AKS Nights is at Emirates Towers on Friday from 8pm. Tickets start at Dh100 at www.platinumlist.net. Check out EIC at www.youtube.com/user/EastIndiaComedy
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