There’s really not anything happening on earth that cannot be tackled with some wit and humour. In the present age specially, when comedy is perhaps the coolest thing to do and be, restrains have ceased to be as strongly enforced and opinions have emerged to be more definitive, assertive and bold. Not to say that democracy has attained that level of perfection that allows you to fearlessly live and voice, in fact freedom still remains rooted in as much illusion as you can possibly allude to. But even within the humongous sphere of restrictions that appear subdued but remain as menacing as they have ever been, there are constant critiques and dismantling devourers of the same.
With the booming stand up comedy scene in India, the stage is crowded with artistes who make it a point to parodify every issue prevalent so that they appeal massively with the general public. And this sudden spurge in social consciousness has brought in not just an influx of free flowing expletives into the public jargon. Saddled with ridicule, replete with jibes and urging a more conscious approach to all things that has the power to hold you ‘hostage’ if you don’t really let them out, comedies have indeed turned out to be the tragedy of errors in India, if you allow Shakespeare himself to be parodied!
Amidst the crowd of comic enthusiasts in the scene who seem to be upping the ante with their own social consciousness is the very political sounding satire group, named Aisi Taisi Democracy that immediately puts to fore its notion of debunking everything politically correct or incorrect, extending even to expose matters that can be societally moral or immoral- or rather going about their comedic business in a manner that tickles not just your conscience but delivers enough depth to have your mind swirling and swarming in thoughtful volleys of deliberations that however would have only been raking in the confines of the subconscious but would not dare so much as to come forth vehemently and tickle your grey matter. Thanks to Aisi Taisi Democracy, we can finally put in words just how much we are screwed by- and in turn ourselves screwing- democracy!
Ideology apart however, the group is also a refreshing amalgamation of ideas that no doubt stem from the immediate existence but are moulded by minds as characteristically different from one another. You have award winning screenwriter Varun Grover resorting instead to his comic timing and wisdom exuding, musically infected Indian Ocean band member Rahul Ram wielding the guitar and asserting his voice through such unbelieveable parodies of popular, massively appealing songs that he lends satire a new dimension altogether with his presence in Aisi Taisi Democracy.
And then there’s Delhi’s angry satirist Sanjay Rajoura who does his comedy as efficiently as he let his words escape to deliver that distinctive snapping attack he is identified with. This definitely sounds a lot more aggressive and far more musical than what you would expect of people striving to deliver laughs. But deliver they do and with such unbridled emphasis that the impact of it hits you all at once, stronger than what you expected.
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Perhaps what makes this group of trio all the more diverse yet applauded with rousing appreciation is how they have widened the scope of democracy to let it rest not merely in the pertinence of politics but also in seemingly innocuous but underlyingly disturbing elements that pervade society. From exploring nuances of arranged marriages to the Indian obsession with kids and grand kids and great grand kids; mall culture and, not so exactly but somehow close to it, the skyscraper boom; from biting into aloo pakodas to trying out diets Aisi Taisi Democracy never lets issues slip out from their grips.
Of course, there’s standard political discourse as well. Jibes at Narendra Modi and the current government are something that dominates the realm of ATD’s many jabs. But even when Grover downplays the ‘brave’ tag attached to them for simply speaking out their heart in this era unlike the UPA rule, ATD still does perpetuate laughs by launching equally scathing mockeries for the more notable among Congressmen.
Aisi Taisi Democracy however does not rely only on innuendos and words to make their point clear and across. With someone as conversately and musically adept as Rahul Ram within their ranks, the group also churns out remarkable parody songs. Be it interpreting Saawan ka mahina as Chunav ka mahina, Mere saamne wale khidki mein as Mere saamne wale sarhad par, Barbie Doll as Babri Doll and numerous others, Aisi Taisi Democracy knows to swap word for word to come up with the perfect catchy hard hitter. Elections and demonetisation, pollution and unemployment- topics as diverse yet as related as they can ever be all come to surge in ATD’s very blunt, very elemental take on these plagues of the nation.
Perhaps Rahul’s association with ATD as the man who would help them be more poetic in their endeavour is all the more significant given that this wizard of music had also been an active propagator of social issues, noted mainly for his association with the Narmada Bachao Andolan. With such sensitivity of social issues, it’s only expected that this is the man who would further be enhancing Aisi Taisi Democracy’s allegories to everything damning and disturbing.
Even when they choose to make more commonplace and apparent dark sensitivities with darker ambiguifying credence, Aisi Taisi Democracy manages to impart the message in all spirited jest as possible. Laughs and cheer resonates throughout even when at the backdrop there’s this nudge to dwell on the stark accurateness of what has just been delivered in barbed symphony.
For all the myriad consciousness it largely encompasses, Aisi Taisi Democracy could not have been more aptly eked out. Both in its name and in its identity. It is not just a ridicule of what things are, more essentially ATD is a platform that gives voice to how society needs to manifest itself- politically assertive in its democratic pursuit but also in its engulfing mass necessity of everything as apolitical as can be. Indeed, existence gets as diverse as it can with Aisi Taisi Democracy’s many explorations of hilarious bearings.