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Bans, Bad Copies & Baghban: 8 Great Standup Bits on Bollywood

By Maanya Sachdeva 15 July 2020

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Bollywood and the standup comedy scene has always had a symbiotic—if sometimes contentious—relationship. Not only was Bollywood the home of many of India’s comedy greats before the standup scene took off, it also provides reams of material for comedians to work with. And hiccups aside—like Yash Raj Films taking down AIB’s Dhoom 3 parody video, or Salman Khan’s reaction to the infamous roast—Bollywood has been happy to accept a few brickbats in exchange for looking accessible to a younger millennial audience.

The result is that over the past decade or so, comics have had a lot of fun riffing on jokes about their fellow entertainers in Tinseltown. We’ve put together a list of some of the funniest takes on Bollywood by Indian comedians—with subjects ranging from censorship, the woeful quality of Indian scifi flicks, and that film based on a Chetan Bhagat book.

POLITICS, PADMAVATI & OTHER NEWS — SHRIDHAR VENKATARAMANA

The controversy that surrounded Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh starrer Padmaavat is the focus of this 10-minute bit by Shridhar. Bookended by political jokes (on the BJP, Congress, as well as the Ambanis), this year-old video about the fact that we’re so incredibly easily offended is unnervingly relevant this month.

Baghban And Me — Chirayu Mistry

Chirayu Mistry’s dissection of Baghban is the antidote to the guilt-trips that inevitably come on after watching this Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini movie with your parents. Plus Mistry does a great Bachchan impression—noteworthy even among the many Bachchan impersonators we’ve seen over the years.

Padmaavat & The Parrot — Varun Grover

Varun Grover believes the entire Padmaavat controversy that Deepika, Ranveer and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali found themselves embroiled in could have been avoided—had it not been for the damn parrot. Click-bait, we know, but you can’t tell us that doesn’t have you at least a little bit curious.

Bollywood And Copying — Sejal Bhat

How do you know whether a Bollywood song is original or a copy? Sejal Bhat recommends asking yourself how happy (or not) the song sounds.

Kyun Kuch Kuch Hota hai — Kishore Dayani

We’ve all been there. You’re re-watching an old-timey, sweet movie that you once loved, and you realise that it isn’t…all that. In this video, the subject of Kishore Dayani’s skepticism over plot holes and absurdity is an all-time favourite, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Engineering, MBA & 2 States — Gourav Mahna

Peppered with Bollywood references, Gourav Mahna’s popular bit comes to a full boil when he addresses engineering, MBA and Bollywood—all together. Obviously, he’s talking about 2 States, inspired by Chetan Bhagat’s book of the same name. 

Bollywood, Lyrics Aur Ram Lakhan — Sumaira Shaikh

Sumaira Shaikh’s one-minute rant about the incredibly popular song, My Name is Lakhan, raises some very important questions. But it offers no answers.

Stuff About Bollywood — Karunesh Talwar

Karunesh Talwar rips apart Koi…Mil Gaya in this clip broadly titled Stuff About Bollywood. It’s mostly about Jaadu only—like how the name is so misleading. And it ends with a dig at the censor board, then helmed by Pankaj Nihalani.

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