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Gujarat comedians offer feast of comedy and mimicry

Mahadev Desai
October 2009
Gujarat comedians offer feast of comedy and mimicry

Three comedians from Gujarat, Mahesh Shastri, Gopal Barot and Nirav Mehta, gave a rib-tickling show at Sardar Patel Bhavan Hall in Tucker on Aug. 21.

The comedians were in America on a five-week tour. The local show, organized by Mustafa Ajmeri’s Global Entertainment, was their ninth show.

Shastri from Ahmedabad, Barot from Saurashtra and Mehta from Baroda had the audience in stitches with their flurry of jokes in their inimitable styles. Their jokes were based on a keen sense of observation and the nuances of everyday life.

Shastri spoke of cricket fans who behave like experts. They gather near a paan kiosk after the match and analyze the match. If India wins, they are full of praise for the players. The same fans do not hesitate to trash Indian players when they lose the following day.

They joked about Gujarati women who keep servants and have ample time to band together with neighbors and gossip about their husbands, politics, etc. They are also shrewd in dealing with street hawkers. A street hawker was trying to impress one housewife with the incense sticks he was selling. A hawker selling incense sticks tried his sales pitch: “Even the lady in the tenth house away will be able to smell this.” “Why don’t you go and sell it to that lady then?” snapped the housewife.

Mehta won repeated applause with his excellent impressions. He mimicked BJP leader L.K. Advani, singer Kishor Kumar, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, and many others. He brought the house down with his impression of Paresh Rawal and did an encore at the audience’s request.

But it was not all funny stuff. Shastri commented on the eroding family values. The blind aping of Western lifestyle by the affluent younger generation is a cause for concern. “Sadly we are witnessing growing instances where a widowed father or mother, despite having several grown up children, feels lonely and neglected because no one extends a helping hand,” he said. He advised the youth, “Your parents took care of you during your first ten years. So remember it is your duty to take care of them in the last ten years of their lives.”

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