Mumbai: How funny are our funny men? Barring stand-up comics, who have just started to make inroads in India, are our TV and cinema comedians actually as funny with their comebacks and one-liners in real life? The answer is, not always. The credit usually goes to the writers, the behind the scenes guys who ensure that shows like Comedy Nights with Kapil rule the roost.
Meet Raaj Shaandilyaa, the person responsible for the jokes and punch lines that have made Kapil Sharma famous.
The writer of Comedy Nights with Kapil used to write for Comedy Circus before. Asked how it feels with Kapil stealing all his thunder, Raaj says, “I believe that I am a person who is supposed to work behind the scenes as I am a writer. I am happy that my thoughts are liked by people. No one can deny that character and writers are always dependent on each other. Earlier, singers were only behind the scenes but now they come up with their own albums and are seen onscreen. I am sure something like this will come up for writers too.
“I was also once called onscreen on the sets of Comedy Circus. All said and done I feel characters add flavor to the script written by the writer.”
Talking about the buzz that the show will go off air, Raaj says, “The decision is yet pending, we are completing our current schedule which is till 22 June. We might go on a break or continue, but one thing is 110 per cent sure, even if we go on a break we will be back with a bang. I can say that we are preparing for a long jump.” Read: Oh no! 'Comedy Nights With Kapil' to go off air
Asked how much did a script change and whether there were rehearsals before the shows, Raaj says, “There is a team of writers who write the script after discussing the concept. Later it comes to me and I try to improvise by adding punches, making it more accurate. A rehearsal is done by the writers for all the characters to see if it evokes laughter. Only then it goes to Kapil and others and then it is performed onscreen. Kapil makes around 2-5 per cent changes and obviously he adds tadka to the gags with his sense of humor.”
Many of Sumona’s (playing Kapil’s wife) comments are thought to be derogatory, but Raaj says: “I don’t feel so. We just try to portray the nok-jhok that is commonly seen between a husband and wife. It is seen in almost every home. There is love so there are clashes between a man and his wife. I am sure most people will agree with me.”
Talking about his bond with Kapil, Raaj says, “I have known Kapil for the past seven years, since the time he was in Comedy Circus. Then too I wrote almost 250 gags for him. I am the first writer for Kapil. He loved my way of writing and this bond is getting stronger each day. Now we share more of a personal than a professional rapport. The best part is we know what the other wants, which makes our work easy and cheerful.”
Raaj gets inspiration from common people, he says, “The way people live their lives inspires me to write. I meet a lot of people from all strata of society to understand what makes them laugh. Also I keep in mind that the show CNWK caters to all sections of society.”
Today Raaj has made a niche for himself but has not forgotten his days of struggle, he says, “I always wanted to be a writer who can make people laugh but my parents wanted me to be an engineer, so I was pursuing BE. During my college days I use to travel from Bhopal to Mumbai on weekends and hunt for an opportunity to write. I continued to do this for almost two and half years. Finally I got a break and the first cheque I got was of Rs 23,000 and my parent’s didn’t believe when I told them this news. To prove them it was true, I had to actually send them a fax and later transferred the money. This is when they realised that I had chosen the right path. I have struggled a lot; have slept without food, walked from Andheri to Goregoan Film City as I didn't have money.”
Raaj Shaandilyaa is also working on dialogues of Welcome Back 2, Jane Bhi Do Yaron sequel and talks are also on for writing the dialogues for Bank Chor that stars Kapil....