For the diehard comedy fan, it’s always a thrill to discover a fine comedian who hasn’t quite broken out on YouTube, or become a major live act yet—or appeared on Comicstaan. The comedian Shankar Chugani, who attained some measure of fame after he appeared on Comicstaan‘s first season, put it nicely in this tweet.
Here’s our list of seven brilliant comics who are regulars on the Mumbai scene, and who have attained different levels of recognition, but aren’t quite stars yet—though some do have videos online. We’re sure they’re going to blow up in the near future, so make sure to catch them when they’re performing at a venue near you. You won’t be disappointed. Of course, this is just a tiny sampling of the good comedians you can discover if you become a regular at live gigs, so do go out and start scouting for other future stars so that you can claim bragging rights later, of having caught them before they were live at the Apollo.
1. Sumaira Shaikh
Sheikh is reasonably well known, not least because she appeared on the Amazon fiction series Pushpavalli. From what we’ve seen, she’s a much more exciting standup comedian than actor. On stage, she has an energy that is somehow both skittish and self-assured, as she takes the audience through her truly weird perspectives on the world. She just released her first video on YouTube. Her bit on paperweights is also highly recommended.
2. Masoom Rajwani
Rajwani doesn’t have any videos out yet, but is a regular on the Mumbai live circuit. The few times we’ve caught him, we’ve been blown away by his form. He has a rapid, but relaxed delivery, and an eye for picking out absurd details from things as diverse as dustbins and city monuments.
3. Samay Raina
Raina is a major new talent who has been crushing rooms across the city, and elsewhere. The energy of a performance space shifts perceptibly when he takes to the stage. Much of his material is relentlessly dark, and has the ability to somehow leave his audience gasping and LOLing at the same time.
4. Agrima Joshua
A fiery talent, Joshua is often willing to take performative risks on stage that most other comedians would balk at. She’s also one of the few comics willing to take public stands on difficult issues. Joshua shot a YouTube video earlier this month, which will probably help her fanbase expand quickly.
5. Govind Menon
Menon is a young comic whose experience is evident from his unflappable presence and his strong writing chops. He has the kind of onstage charisma that, when he steps up to the mic, makes you feel like you’re watching a future star.
6. Urjita Wani
Wani is a slight presence on stage but it takes just a few seconds to realise that she’s an assured, controlled peformer. She has one of the most important qualities that any standup comedian could ask for: an ease and comfort on stage that, even as she delivers solidly crafted material, makes it look she isn’t trying very hard at all.
7. Siddharth Dudeja
Dudeja has two videos up online on his one YouTube channel, a year apart. But he hasn’t yet quite broken out as a solo act. It’s only a matter of time. Dudeja’s laidback energy on stage and deceptively lazy delivery conceal a formidable writer and a performer with whiplash timing, who as casually destroys intimate rooms as he does auditoriums.