The ability to laugh at oneself is a sign of confidence. To be able to take a dig at National ‘Holy Cows’—ranging from religion, caste, politics, North Indians, Delhi, Mumbai, and what have you—with total irreverence calls for a special kind of bravado. Tanmay Bhat very obviously has an ample stock of that.
For a good 90 minutes he regaled a sparse, young and highly appreciative audience at Epicentre, on 29th Sept. Taking sarcastic digs at religion and politicians, he exposed the hypocrisy in the practice of the former, which the latter espouse. Punjabis (as usual) came in for special mention, with their crude and arrogant manners. Mumbai wasn’t spared either, with its ancient
Contemporary and sharp-witted Tanmay had a take on almost every subject of relevance—or rather, irrelevance—to Generation Y. He was at his rapier best when combining subtle wit with the ridiculously mundane. He has a highly personalised style, interacting with members of the audience in a light provocative manner. This induced squeals of laughter from the
There were musical accompaniments of specifically composed ditties he performed as duets, along with Karunesh Talwar on the guitar. The range of vocals and accents Tanmay can muster are impressive – but with plagiarised and vulgar wordings the effect was
Good humour and comedy is also ‘brainiac’; it titillates your intelligence – challenging you to cut through innuendo, puns, ‘double entendre’, spoonerisms and mixed metaphors. Slapstick is a slightly dumber version, and crude dumbing down with street level cuss words is a ‘cop out’ – an easy way out. Unfortunately Tanmay is also guilty of this. With his vast talent and excellent sense of repartee, humour and timing, he has reduced a major part of his show to a crude, school level thrust and parry. Whilst this may get wolf whistles from a young college-going crowd, it would not pass muster in a wider audience.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening – but we left with the regret that he could have done so