India has over a billion people living there, so standing out is no easy task. But like anywhere else in the world, if you’re famous, people will take note. Comedic actor Kiku Sharda has been popular in India for 15 years now, and is known in the Indian community throughout the world. He recently came to Melbourne for the Indian Film Festival, and we spoke to him about his career and his thoughts on comedy.
How has your time in Melbourne and Australia been so far?
Fantastic. Just came in day before yesterday. I was at Federation Square at the Bollywood dance competition. I love the people here
What inspired you to become a comedic actor?
I have been acting from the time I’ve been in high school. I don’t come from a family of actors. I’ve been on stage for school functions. It’s just something I enjoy and made it my profession.
Why do you feel dressing drag is something that makes people all over the world laugh?
Drag has been a part of the culture in India, years back when women were not really participate in theatre. They’re largely done by men. When people in small villages, they kind of do a stage show. They didn’t really have women actors, they only had men. They had to dress as men as women to do show. Having said that, the humour that we do and to get away with men dressed as women, the process is become easier for us. But we do this with respect to women and women actors. It was an experiment when we started, now we have three essential actors for it.
You have a masterclass on comedy at Melbourne Central. How would you describe the class?
The class is largely about comedy in India. I think it’s evoluation. A stand up show has been accepted by such a large audience in India. It’s similar to The Kumars At No. 42. It’s never been so successful. We talk about the kind of comedy that is new and innovative. In India, people do take offence in how you talk about women, you got to be careful. We also talk about how comedy has made a place for itself.
Did you go to classes like this when you were starting your career?
Not really. I’ve been on the job, as I said, in my school and college days. I took everything that came my way. Never trained to be an actor; this is something that I’ve just enjoyed.
How do you feel Indian humour differs from Australian humour?
I’m not really aware of Australian humour. I’ve seen American shows like Saturday Night Live, and British ones like Little Britain. I haven’t seen any Australian comedy.
Originally published here at milkbarmag.com on Monday 24 August 2015