‘Improvisation is a very crucial element while doing comedy’

Debarati Palit Singh
Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Rajeev Nigam, while promoting his upcoming show Har Shaakh Pe Ullu Baithaa Hai, talks about how the humour content on television has changed.

Each one of us have had to face some issues, problems, because of politicians and their politics. So in Har Shaakh Pe Ullu Baithaa Hai, we have depicted the problems faced by common man in a funny manner. We have created an imaginary state and I play its chief minister,” says Rajeev Nigam, about his new show that goes on air on Star Plus, from Monday, February 26.  

The actor and comedian will play a politician, who keeps on fooling the common people in the show, which is written, created and directed by Ashwini Dhir. Talking about Har Shaakh Pe..., Rajeev says, “I haven’t studied any particular politician. There are different situations in the show, and my character responds accordingly. So you will get to see different personality traits of different politicians in my character.”

Rajeev, who has worked on several comedy-based shows on television, says that initially he was skeptical about how people would react to such a show. “The present political situation is such that people have to think several times before speaking out. So I had my doubts. However, I was told that we are not targeting any particular politician, but highlighting the issues faced by the common man. These problems were there earlier too. India is a big country with a large population. So common people do face some problem or the other. Corruption is a big issue in the country,” he adds.

During the shooting of the show, Rajeev improvised a lot, shaped by his experiences. “I started my career as a writer for Movers and Shakers show in the late 90s. So I have a lot of experience in writing political satire. Over the years, I have observed the political scene and like to improvise and enhance the incident,” he quips, adding, “Improvisation is a very crucial element while doing comedy. No matter how well a script is written, there’s always scope for betterment. The improvisation that happens on the sets is not planned.”

Drawing comparisons between doing live shows and television, Rajeev says, “While doing live shows, I am at liberty of taking names or enacting situations. Here, my experience as a political satire writer helps me. I do ponder about how far I should go while performing live. But live shows give you liberty. Television, on the other hand, has several restrictions because of which the content has changed. Movers and Shakers went off air 18 years ago and since then humour on television has changed. That’s because we are not being able to grow for some reasons. There are several restrictions like we cannot take names or mention details but on Movers and....., Shekhar Suman could openly take names and copy a personality. The moment restrictions are put in place, your humour dips.”

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