Hawker Arrested After Imitating Politicians Wants to Do Stand-up
A week after a video of Avdesh Dubey went viral, which showed him selling toys in a train in Gujarat while imitating politicians, the Railway Police Force (RPF) in Surat arrested him on Friday, 31 May.
The RPF stated that Avdesh was apprehended conducting unauthorised vending in the sleeper coach of Train No 17204 (Kakinada-Bhavnagar Express) at Surat Railway station on Friday.
He was produced before a Judicial Magistrate First Class court in Surat where he accepted his guilt, he was fined Rs 3,500 and was sent to 10 days’ judicial custody.
Avdesh originally hails from Varanasi and migrated to Valsad two years ago. He sells toys in trains between Vapi and Surat.
He shot to fame after a video of him selling toys in train went viral after it was uploaded on YouTube on 23 May, by Gujarati stand-up comedian Manan Desai, who personally shot the video in the train.
Avdesh Had Been Detained Thrice Before
Stand-up comedian Manan Desai who is part of the ‘Comedy Factory’, told The Quint that he spoke to Avdesh when the latter was in police custody and he sounded quite relaxed.
“He told me, ‘‘Mananbhai you don’t need to worry, this is a routine for us and we face this once every two months. They will detain us for a few hours and then let us go.’ But then he called me at 6 pm and told me that he was produced before a magistrate.”Manan Desai, Stand Up Comedian, The Comedy Factory
According to Manan, Avdesh was detained with 9-10 hawkers and peddlers by the railway police and produced before Magistrate Arun Soni of the Surat Railway Court, where he confessed. Avdesh has been already detained and fined thrice before and this was the fourth instance.
Manan added, “Through my sources in the RPF, I was told that they were pulled up by the higher-ups after the video went viral. Avdesh was detained in Navsari and taken to Surat. This is a weird catch-22 where he got arrested because of the video, but had the video not come out, no one would have known of his raw talent.”
Manan told The Quint that the government lawyer who was representing the railways will provide him the certified court order copy, after which Manan will apply for Avdesh’s bail on Monday 3 June. “If we get an earlier date that will be great. However, he may have to spend a minimum of 8 days behind bars,” he said.
The Video Was Shot in February
Speaking with The Quint, Manan said that he had shot the video in February this year, but he didn’t release it immediately.
“The video was released last week after the election results were declared. I released it after 4 months because his content was politically biased, and I had to ensure it didn’t violate the Moral Code of Conduct (MCC),” Manan said.
He also said that he had got Dubey’s consent to release the video.
“I had asked him if he will face any consequences if I release the video. However, he has a sharp wit and a good network in the railways and the RPF, because you know how it works – these vendors pay hafta (bribes) to the authorities. He presumed that his strong network among the station authorities would protect him, so I released the video and it became viral.”Manan Desai, Stand Up Comedian, The Comedy Factory
In fact, Desai had shot more videos of him later, but instead chose to post the original video that he shot in the train.
“We shot another video with him later, which was more like a scripted sketch. But we realised that Avdesh is in his element when he is not directed to do something, that’s why he steals the limelight every time he sells toys in the train. So instead of making another video which would not reflect his raw talent, we decided to release the original video,” he said.
‘Avdesh Is a Pool of Talent’
According to Manan, Avdesh has outstanding comic timing and sensational improvisational skills, which are both rare finds.
“Even before you finish your sentence, he has a rebuttal ready. Comedians like us takes years to build such sharp presence of mind and improvisational skills. His biggest advantage is that he is performing open mic for eight hours a day, and every time he does it in front of a new audience. We’d die for such extended stage time. I travel 100 kms from Baroda to Ahmedabad just to get 5-10 mins of stage time.”Manan Desai, Stand Up Comedian, The Comedy Factory
Manan also said that after Avdesh was sentenced to 10 days in jail, he told him that he didn’t want to continue selling toys in the train.
“The last thing he said before going to jail was, ‘Mananbhai I don’t want to do this anymore. This is the first time I’m going to jail and I want to ensure this the last time’. He wants to stop selling toys and just donate all his stock to someone. He has asked for my help and it all depends on how fast he can grasp things,” he said.
Manan is not only trying to bail out Avdesh, but also trying to get him a platform where he can showcase his skills.
Manan was also thinking of crowd funding Avdesh. However, a couple of people in the business assured him that they are willing to help Avdesh with a basic set-up that will take care of him for the next 3-6 months at least.
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