Bengaluru-based comedian Manjeet Sarkar is on the third leg of his Untouchable tour, which has earned him appreciative profiles in publications like The Guardian and Christian Science Monitor for his biting anti-caste satire. For this leg, he’s got shows lined up in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata between late July and early August. But Sarkar isn’t stopping there. Even as he’s looking to add more cities to the tour, he’s already got his eyes on bigger projects on the horizon. These include an upcoming North American tour, a documentary-style special he hopes to pitch to streaming platforms, and even a book deal.
QUICK! WHAT’S THIS SHOW ABOUT?
Untouchable is a 90-minute show where I talk about my early experiences growing up in a rural area, contrasting it with my current life in the city. The show discusses a series of comparisons, from mental health to social outlook.
HOW MANY SHOWS ARE YOU DOING, ACROSS HOW MANY CITIES?
I have toured India twice, including multiple shows across Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Nagpur, Chennai, and Hyderabad. In this third leg of the Untouchable tour, I am adding Kolkata to the list, amongst other cities that will be announced soon.
HOW LONG DID YOU SPEND WRITING THE SHOW?
This show is a culmination of material that I have developed over the last three years of my career. From my six-year comedy journey, I had to drop the first three years of material either because of safety reasons or because I grew out of the joke.
IS THIS ALREADY LEADING UP TO A RECORDED SPECIAL FOR A STREAMING PLATFORM?
I am working on a different kind of special where 30-45 minutes of material will be incorporated into a documentary. As of now, I haven’t been approached by any OTT platform. I am open to inquiries! The documentary will be screened during my upcoming North America tour.
WHY SHOULD WE WATCH IT LIVE?
For starters, the only way you can watch the show right now is live. It is the only comedy show in the world that exposes you to a bottom-up perspective of caste and the uncensored realities of rural and urban India. Most importantly, it’s funny.
ACCORDING TO YOU, WHO WOULD BE THE IDEAL PLUS-ONE TO BRING TO THE LIVE SHOW?
Comedy fans, and anyone who doesn’t know about caste, thinks they know about caste or doesn’t have friendly opinions about caste. Basically, everyone who can afford to watch the show.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME ‘UNTOUCHABLE’?
If you come to the show, you’ll hear the anecdote that greatly influenced my decision to use this name. However, I can’t take credit for it since it was given to the community I was born into a very long time ago!
ON A SCALE OF 1 – WTFAMIDOING, HOW NERVOUS ARE YOU?
[For the North America tour] Damn this is happening! Shit, am I going to get the visa?
DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ANY “UNTOUCHABLE” TOPICS IN STANDUP?
Comedy is the only art form that demands for everything to be spoken about. The more you talk about things, the more you normalise them. I do believe that not punching down on people is a basic rule that should be respected.
HAVE YOU FOUND A PUBLISHER FOR YOUR BOOK YET?
I have been approached by a few. Right now, I am most focused on releasing the special/documentary and doing a world tour.