Comedian Anuvab Pal on “The Nation Still Wants to Know”

Comedian Anuvab Pal on “The Nation Still Wants to Know”
Anuvab Pal
(Courtesy Anuvab Pal)


With Mumbai’s theatre and film writer-director Anuvab Pal and Delhi’s cartoonist Rajneesh Kapoor riffling through matters of the State in their new stand-up comedy show, “The Nation Still Wants to Know,” audiences can rest assured that India is in good hands.

The show will debut at 8pm on June 14 at the second annual edition of the NCPA Cheer! Comedy Festival. The weekend festival from Mumbai’s National Centre for the Performing Arts has premiering comedy plays – Balancing Act Productions’s “2+2,” Silly Point Productions’s “Couple of Fools,” and Akvarious Productions’s “My Romantic History” – as well as comedy from East India Co.medy and improv from The Ministry of Schtick.

The incredibly talented duo first joined observational powers for “Injia: The Many Highly Effective Habits of Indian People” in April. Later that month, Pal mentioned in his birthday message on Facebook, that the feedback from the shows, screenings, and classes that he’d given only emphasized the importance of satire and humorous observations, writing “And you think, perhaps in one’s little ways, even though one essentially does comedies, one can observe, report, stay on the pulse and maybe, just maybe, change a bit of thinking. It is not then new stories to be told but new ways to tell them.

The June 14 premiere is a follow-up to last September’s “The Nation Wants to Know” – titled after a pet phrase of Arnab Goswami, whom Pal has described as the John Rambo of Indian news anchors – in which Pal commented on the Parliament, 1980s India, and how Bengalis pick up women. Pal told BLOUIN Artinfo about the sequel, “There are things the nation wanted to know that I could not tell them without them still wanting to know.” On the list are the Indian art of negotiation, and of miscommunication. Read on to hear India’s top-ranking comedian respond with his trademark dry wit and childlike wonder on what has been inspiring him lately.

You’ve written that Arnab Goswami knows “all Indias” and “India knows him. In fact, he is India. When he says, ‘My millions of Indian viewers’ or ‘My Indians’ or ‘You, India’ building to his opus ‘INDIAAA,’ I need a drink of water to calm down from the erotically-charged ambience it creates.” What is the mental picture you have of the “Nation?”

A bounced cheque.

Tell us about jamming with Rajneesh Kapoor.

Everything he says is funny. He just happens to be a stand up comic. I am a fan.

What is the one big thing the Nation doesnt seem to want to know?

And they should. This baffles me: How Arnab sounds at home.

What has been intriguing you lately?

I went to a dentist recently and he had a camera that showed me my wisdom tooth. Who came up with the idea of that camera? Someone thought, Okay, maybe my film career went nowhere but maybe I can invent a camera to look inside teeth.  That Ive been thinking about.

And the Snowden guy who leaked the US secrets. In his interview he said, Oh, there is a CIA black site just up the road here (and pointed). He’s in hiding in Hong Kong. There’s information and there’s too much information. I feel like there’s some information that is okay not to have. I don’t want to know where every CIA black site is. It is not a Cafe Coffee Day.

June 14 at the NCPA, Mumbai. Tickets Rs 300.