Thursday, November 30, 2023

Sunil Pal: People doing vulgar stand-up comedy are not ‘Kalakar’ but ‘Kalankar’

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Actor-comedian Sunil Pal, known for his brawling humour and comedy, gets candid with The Pioneer about his journey, his take on the current stand-up comedy scenes, and more.
Tejal Sinha
Nothing could be as contagious as laughter and good humor. And thanks to some great comedians who have made sure to make their humour a reason for the masses to guffaw. Now as we talk of comedy and comedians, one of the well-admired comedians, Sunil Pal, gets over a quick fun chat with us and rattles on his comedic journey, working on some really interesting projects, and a lot more.
If you’ve been following him since 2005—The Great Indian Laughter Challenge—you would recall howling out and laughing so hard till your stomach hurts and tears down your cheeks with his stand-up comedy. Well, and so, it was the show that brought him into a higher picture, especially for someone who packed his bags to Mumbai without any contact. And for him, the chuckling of laughter is all about, “Not only trying to solve my life challenges with laughter, but also going amongst the people, making them laugh, and being a part of their life challenges as well. I always wish to give them happiness through laughter. I believe in ‘Haso Hasao aur ek dusrae ke dil mai ghar basao’.”
Being a movie buff that he’s been since his childhood, has played a major role in his life. From beginning with listening to songs, mimicking actors, and learning the dialogues of Sholay or Johnny Lever, he’s always enjoyed making people listen to the different voices he could bring out. Back then, he really enjoyed the events that were organised in pandals and went on to be a part of orchestras in Pune.Cut to that, he knew he had to do something in the entertainment industry itself. Just like many, coming from a small family with a dream to make his own name, he too shifted to Mumbai in 1995.
A die-hard fan of Mithun Chakraborty, he managed to get the address but unfortunately couldn’t meet the actor. Later, when he thought of going to a friend of his, unfortunately, his friend was also not available. Haggard, with all of it, comes to a revelation along the way—he ended up working on a tea stall and sleeping on the footpaths. His hard work and zeal to make his name finally paid off ten years later with The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.To him, right from 1995 to 2005 were the years of learning; everyone he met was a guru, and the footpaths where he slept were temples.
“I never knew a person who had once worked in a tea stall would get so much respect. Pata nahi kab kaunsa chai wala desh ka pradhan mantri bann jaaye. Today, I realise that someday or another, a tea seller will somehow get the support he deserves. During those 10 years, I worked on different local orchestras and lived in a small room called my family. There was a time when I used to drive an autorickshaw for my survival,” recalls the gagster, who finally got to meet and share a close bond with Johnny Lever post-The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. “I am glad that today I’m getting so much respect from people.”
Not just with his stand-up comedy, but also he has very much made sure to add the punch of his comedy to the characters he played, be it in Phir Hera Pheri, Apna Sapna Money Money, Bombay to Goa, Bhavnao ko Samjho, and Money Back Guarantee, to name a few. Now, many of you might wonder why we do not get to see him much on screen. Let’s hear what he has to tell us about it: “My first love has always been live shows, and with that, I make videos for my YouTube channel, Sunil Pal Official, and my social media. But what happens with film shooting is that you have to give so much of your days, and for that, you need to give up on your shows. And what happens is that I have done 8 to 10 films where either your role gets short or sometimes even cuts off, dates going back and forth.
The reason I’m doing less of it is because whoever comes to me with their work, I just say, Rate aapka rahega, but date mera rahega. And if you can manage and adjust, then I can work; otherwise, what happens is that I have to go through a lot of losses. I do work if it’s something good, but what has generally happened is that it just gets cut off. So that really feels bad. I do love movies, but I cannot leave my shows. I may not be that important for the films, but to me, shows are very important, and I do get that love and respect, so why not?”
“Old is always gold,” he says, as we ask him about what, according to him, has changed over the years in terms of stand-up comedy. Elucidating in regards to films, he says, “For example, Baahubali is based on the age-old concept. So that clearly means that people are very much connected to their roots to date. Now, films like Thank You for Coming have nothing but vulgar content, and there was no hard work done to make such films. There is no sort of creativity in such films. And similar to live shows, when you’re doing a live show in public, you’d obviously want the whole family to come and watch it.
One cannot just bring out their vulgarity to the family audience and blame it on the youth that it is they who love such content. The youth of today are very intelligent, really want to go ahead in their lives, and have been working really hard. But what’s happening is that few of them have taken the support of vulgarity to make a mark of their own. With this, you don’t get success. It is a kind of terrorism. I don’t call such people ‘Kalakar’; they are ‘Kalankar’. I really request that people boycott such people and appreciate the ones who are hardworking. If you use vulgarism and call it modern, I would definitely like to not be a part of it.”
During the last days of Raju Srivastav, Sunil Pal has truly proved to be his Marte dum ka Saathi. And his demise to Sunil, along with the rest, has been really unfair. However, recently, on ‘Gajodhar Bhaiya’s’ death anniversary, Sunil and other of his friends started the ‘Standup Comedy Family Welfare Federation’, with the aim of going through the path of Raju Srivastav.
If you feel that you no longer see him acting or in any projects, Then here’s the good news for you! He has several projects lined up, including Gaali Galoch by his production house, which will be out next month on OTT. The actor-comedian who confirmed completing the shoot of Mission Laila shares, “Gaali Galoch is about the vulgarity that comes up in stand-up comedy these days. The film does not use cuss words, but it is against them.
Meanwhile, in Mission Laila, I play the character of this building’s watchman, who is well aware of everything that is happening around him, just like Pankaj Tripathi was in Fukrey.
My character has a lot of secrets about Rajpal Yadav and Rashmi Desai. Then there is another film with Rajpal Yadav coming up with Zeenat Aman called Super Jasoos, where we both are detectives and we are doing jasoosi of Zeenat Aman. And apart from this, I’ll be continuing my live shows and have been actively involved in events organised by Punjab CM Bhagwat Mann.”
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