I want to work with Rajkumar Hirani: Vir Das

By Ritika Handoo | Updated: Jan 12, 2015, 09:52 AM IST

It is far easier to make people cry, than to make the same faces stretch to a smile. If an actor can do both at the same time, then he is simply the blessed one. From Harvard University to Bollywood, Vir Das has made a name for himself. His stand-up acts leave a lasting impression, as he is safely called ‘India’s only true comic’ by many. In an exclusive interview with Ritika Handoo of Zee News Online, Vir talks about his journey from Illinois to India—acting, stand-up acts and much more.


You have a sound academic background. From Illinois to Harvard University, and now a stand-up comedian. How did it happen?

This has been a great journey. I can’t really explain in words, how all of this happened, but ever since I was a child, I wanted to become an actor. Acting is an organic art form, therefore when I started performing on stage and otherwise—the response was tremendous. So, gradually all of this fell into place.

You are a performer, so what do you prefer more—stand-up act or acting on screen?

Well, this is a tricky one. I feel a healthy balance of both is the ideal situation for me. I could not imagine spending all my life doing just stand-up or performing only in films. Therefore, in a month if I am working for films, then may be in the next I am doing some stand-up acts as well. It works well for me this way.

What was your comic act at the Kingdom Of Dreams all about?

The stand-up act depends a lot on the kind of audience that is going to be present for the show. Since the performance had to happen in Gurgaon—the audience was expected to be largely families, kids, teenagers and the like. It is basically observational stand-up act, where we talk about common interests—ranging from cricket, love, romance to books, art and films. These are the issues with which audiences can connect.

Since you perform across the globe, what is it that bifurcates the Indian taste of comedy from the West?

The main difference between the two is that in India, I don’t have to explain much—the audience gets the joke quite easily. But, in the West it’s a little harder. Also, I feel that Indians have the loudest laughter in the world. It’s not easy to make them laugh, but once they do, it’s their laughter which is the loudest anyone can hear.

You have done ‘hatke’ films so far. Was it a conscious decision on your part to choose such scripts or has it happened by chance?

It was a mix of both for me, I would say. I chose the kind of films I wanted to be part of, but at the same time—my career choices proved right for me, so we can say both the things worked in my case. For the past five years, I am trying to establish myself in Bollywood. I started out as a junior artiste and then gradually after a lot of struggle, things have started to fall into place.

You are often described as ‘India’s only true comic’. How does it feel to be seen in such a light?

Well, it’s a huge title. I don’t really think about such things. It makes me happy certainly but then I just want to do my work, and not let things affect me. I feel there are other great comedians as well. All I want to do is, make people laugh. I just want to be funny.

Are there any favourites in Bollywood you want to work with?

Yes, of course. I am a big Rajkumar Hirani fan. I admire his kind of work. Right from the days of ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, I have wanted to work with him.

What are your future projects? Are there any new films in the pipeline?

This year will be a commercial one for me. As I have four to five films lined up in 2015. There is a movie called ‘Santa Banta’ opposite Neha Dhupia and Boman Irani, ‘Mastizaade’ with Sunny Leone and Tusshar Kapoor. Basically, there will be a lot of me, which you will see this year and that too in varied roles.