In India, Comedy Is Becoming A Serious Business
Atul Khatri, businessman-turned-comedian.
Atul Khatri, businessman-turned-comedian.(Photo: BloombergQuint)

In India, Comedy Is Becoming A Serious Business

In a country that produces lawyers, engineers and doctors by the dozens, it’s rare to see someone taking up standup comedy as a career.

But, times are ‘a changin’ and comedians like Anuvab Pal and Atul Khatri have become celebrities by doing what they do best – making people laugh.

For the last few years, Pal and Khatri have been selling out shows all over the world –from Mumbai to New York. But, it’s not just standup gigs that keep them busy.

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Top entertainment platforms like Amazon and Netflix sign them up for special online shows given their large fan base. Corporate events and weddings add to their schedule of events.

Atul Khatri, businessman-turned-comedian poses for a picture at the Cuckoo Club in Mumbai.
Atul Khatri, businessman-turned-comedian poses for a picture at the Cuckoo Club in Mumbai.
(Photo: BloombergQuint)

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Comedy has become a serious business in India, says Khatri. “Other than plain standup comedy, there’s also script writing.”

Some of us write film award shows, trying to make scripts funnier. There is also work coming in from social media where many comedians have large followings and are considered ‘influencers’. You also have to keep an eye out for the business part of it as much as the creative part of it.
Atul Khatri

It’s not like Khatri has been into comedy forever.

Khatri, 50, has been running a successful computer business for many years but has decided to exit the company and spend all his time in the comedy space – a job that he enjoys a lot more than being a business owner.

Pal adds that India will follow a similar trajectory to the US, when it comes to the comedy business.

“An Abhish Mathew will do his late night show, he has a great personality. Someone like Kanan Gill will become a movie star, some of us write and direct or become ad-writers, like Atul has done a bunch of ads that he’s in. So, I think standup then becomes a platform as a generation of us will eventually go out of it and a new generation will take over.”

Also Read: Anuvab Pal & Kunaal Roy Kapur on Podcasts, ‘Udta Punjab’ and More

Anuvab Pal, one of the country’s top comedians, poses for a picture at the Cuckoo Club in Mumbai.
Anuvab Pal, one of the country’s top comedians, poses for a picture at the Cuckoo Club in Mumbai.
(Photo: BloombergQuint)

(This article was first published on BloombergQuint and has been republished with permission)

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