Catch a stand up comedy show in Marathi
Stand-up comedians are cracking jokes and one-liners in Marathi, in a bid to embrace their mother tongue and set the mood among non-Marathi speakers too
Trupti Khamkar. Pics/Suyash Kamat
Creating a cool hashtag in Devanagri or coming up with a fun name were all ancillary objectives - like a bobbing toy dog on a car dashboard or changing your Twitter theme to fuchsia - to only increase appeal. At the root of what Bharatiya Digital Party (#BhaDiPa) is trying to achieve lies a childhood nemesis - the fear of making mistakes while speaking in your mother tongue.
"There is an underlying connotation in any linguistically-motivated insistence like, 'Oh! This is isn't the correct and pure pronunciation'. It alienates people from their language. When I was growing up, I was scared of speaking in my mother tongue, until I started doing films and theatre and realised how beautiful Marathi is. That's when I started exploring its nuances. The problem is that as a grown-up, you are allowed to make mistakes whereas children get scolded," says Sarang Sathaye, 35.
Speaking of their upcoming show, Secret Marathi Show (SMS), Sathaye says that Aditya Desai's first Marathi stand-up script, as opposed to his earlier translated versions, Trupti Khamkar's headlining act and a new talent, Sushant Ghadge, will be a few highlights to look forward to.
Sathaye along with, Mumbai-based Canadian national Paula McGlynn, 38, and Mumbai-based Anusha Nandakumar, 30, started BhaDiPa two years ago as an answer to the youth's rapid dissociation with their mother tongues. "Regional languages are dying out. Either the revival is tainted with parochialism or people simply don't find it cool enough. We saw that there were no contemporary approaches to tackle this issue and most importantly, the love was missing. The idea was to do things in Marathi while retaining a global appeal. We are not puritans and we are not the kind to not call Mumbai, Bombay," Sathaye explains.
Aditya Desai, one of the performers at SMS and BhaDiPa's CFO says, "I've been doing English stand up for six years now, and performing it in Marathi was a real challenge because although it's my mother tongue, I don't know how to read it. Also, for me, the language of think in, is English; I craft my jokes and punchlines in it. So, when I was doing translations, some jokes worked while some fell flat. That's why I decided to write with a fresh, Marathi perspective."
"At the same time, humour is humour. Once, during a performance, to excuse myself from using English unknowingly, I said, 'Shivaji Park is like the South Bombay of Dadar so I believe some English would work here. Besides, I hail from Bandra.' I said this in Marathi and the crowd cracked up," Desai recalls.
Trupti Khamkar, on the other hand, tell us why the show will appeal to the non-Marathi speaking audience too - an inclusivity that BhaDiPa tries to ensure. "Art is art and what's funny is funny. Everyone laughs at Charlie Chaplin, right?" she asks, keeping it refreshingly brief. She adds that she's going to speak about how hopelessly single she is and having tried her hand at English and Hindi has returned to her mother tongue, hoping that would do the trick.
ON: May 12, 8.30 pm onwards
AT: The Habitat, Hotel Unicontinental, Khar West.
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