Amazon Prime Video | March 2019 | 50 min
There’s nothing to dislike about Angad Singh Ranyal taking stage. A lasting member of comedy collective EIC, he is your friendly neighbourhood funnyman. His presence is unimposing, but between the body swaying, ever-widening eyes and unpredictable gesticulations, it’s hard to take your eyes off him. More often than not, he is able to get the audience on his side right up top, which is half the work for any comic. And as for holding your attention all the way through, he’s got that covered too in his debut Amazon special, Kaafi Filmy.
The first thing Ranyal does is set expectations. If you think this is going to be an hour of film-related jokes, you’re wrong. It’s called Kaafi Filmy because Ranyal loves the movies. What he doesn’t love is… a whole list of people and things out to ruin the experience for him. People with unending enthusiasm for caramel and/or cheese popcorn, for instance; he can’t wrap his head around it.
As he runs through more of the obstacles he encounters, he addresses the infuriating genre that is indie movies, because they never really conclude (“KYA HUA?!”); and the road-trip movie, which leaves you with unrealistic ideas of how life-changing stuffing yourself into a car with four friends is.
We’ve all been there. But you want Ranyal to tell you anyway because more than the actual premise, it’s his increasing distress that’s clocking in the laughs per minute.
Mini rants follow: on anti-smoking ads, trying to get to your seat through a sea of legs, people who talk during the movie, people who order full meals to their seat, and those who come with toddlers in tow—things you can tick off your personal checklist, because we’ve all been there. But you want Ranyal to tell you anyway because more than the actual premise, it’s his increasing distress that’s clocking in the laughs per minute.
Between observation and anecdote, he also takes the time to weave in a quick bit of context. Stories of growing up in a house where his parents were constantly worried about his sibling rivalry, and his father delighted in making up nonsense answers to Ranyal’s innocent questions. Ranyal recalls once asking him, “Baadlon ko paani deta kaun hai? (Who waters the clouds?)”. His father’s response was to admit it’s been him all along, encouraging Ranyal to try it too—ideally standing on one leg.
Ranyal’s phobia of travelling long distance is explained through a longer bit about riding from Delhi to Meerut with a driver who unleashes his inner Vin Diesel mid-trip, much to Ranyal’s full blown panic. Here, he also sneaks in throwaway lines about his religion, and how people keep finding ways to drag in the fact that he’s a sardar into completely unrelated conversations. Through it, he lands a larger point. Ranyal is not interested in fitting into stereotypes, or aligning his actions/reactions to whatever assumptions you may have made based on the fact that he wears a turban on his head.
Relatable and just a naturally funny guy, he boasts an ability to take on done-to-death themes with fresh lightness and perspective.
When he breaks up human interaction into four categories—family, work, dating, friends—he explains how choosy you can afford to be with each of them. With friends, the most elastic of all of the choices, he’s confused: “Kyun nahin hote hum choosy? Hum kissi ko bhi dost bana dete hain.” (Why aren’t we choosy about this? We make friends with just about anybody.) For a moment there, it doesn’t matter what he says after because even just the question is great:
Now 31 years old, Ranyal approaches his material like his TV shows—more carefully, and with a better understanding of what he’s getting into. Relatable and just a naturally funny guy, he boasts an ability to take on done-to-death themes with fresh lightness and perspective. There’s also evidence of having more control over his movement, a better sense of the stage, and a newfound ease with which he moves through his material—all of which add to making this hour a happy, even breeze.
Some 20 minutes in, he declares, “If you laugh, I’ll be happy, go to to my room, have a drink, go to sleep. If you don’t laugh, I’ll get sad, go to my room, have a drink, go to sleep.” The good news is that he can safely toast to the former; Kaafi Filmy is kaafi funny.
My only critique is the multi-coloured lighting of the set, which makes it look like he’s standing in the middle of a daytime disco—an avoidable distraction if there was any. But with all else in place, this is an easy pass.
Aditi Mittal and Azeem Banatwalla have already served up powerful specials this year, and Angad’s Kaafi Filmy continues to raise Amazon Prime Video’s stock. The early names on the comedy circuit’s roll call, at least, are finally delivering the quality we’ve all been desperately hoping for. Here’s hoping there’s more where that came from!
Watch the full special on Amazon Prime Video: https://bit.ly/2TDTp2Y
Dead Ant review policy: 1) We pay for shows that we review. 2) When we review live shows of any kind, we might mention subjects that are dealt with, but will avoid more detailed discussion of premises or jokes. 3) When we review or discuss YouTube videos and OTT specials, since they are already accessible across locations, we may get into more details discussions of the material. These reviews aim to foster closer conversations about comedy, and hence are for people who have already watched the videos, or don’t mind knowing details of it beforehand.