Blackheads do not signify emotion to me – Vir Das

What would be ‘India’s answer to Jay Leno’… Yes, you got it right, that’s Vir Das. A successful stand-up comedian, Vir has studied acting from Harvard University and has now found a foothold for himself in Bollywood. His debut film Mumbai Salsa and a tiny role in Namastey London may not have given him much notice (remember, Katrina Kaif’s super-analytical groom-to-be?) but his badmaash streak in Yash Raj’s movie Badmaash Company has took everyone by storm followed by his amazing performance in Delhi Belly. Vir has formed a comic rock band ‘Alien Chutney’ and is also in the process of writing a book. Well, that’s what we call a healthy mix of acting, comedy, music and writing… Vir talks to GR8! About his journey as a comedian, as an actor and his expert views on Indian TV.

Are you a TV buff? How often do you watch television?

I don’t get to watch much TV because I am traveling all the time. I try and catch news bulletin in the day. But I download a lot of TV shows and watch them on my laptop when I am traveling.

What do you like to watch on television?

I like the History Channel. Anything about World War 2 or Nazi Germania and I am hooked. I love cooking shows; Top Chef on AXN is a favourite of mine. I also like House MD and The Office.

A lot of Bollywood actors are seen on TV, if given a chance will you like to feature on TV?

(Laughs) For the right reasons yes! I wouldn’t want to be in a swayamvar or locked in a boss house or do a roadie or any such thing; the show that I do would have to match my persona.

What will you like to do, judge, participate or host a show?

I would like to host a show. I did host a news comedy show on CNBC for many years. It was a happy happy time!

If you get a good script, will you be comfortable doing a TV serial?

I don’t know. I have friends who do TV serials and it seems to take a lot of time. I need to travel each week for stand up. So don’t know if I could manage.

Which is your current favorite show on television?

House MD, Hugh Laurie is a genius. I also am partial to it because he is an ex-comic doing serious work.

Your favorite show as a kid?

My Boarding school switched the TV on for three hours on Sunday morning, so Mahabharat, Duck Tales, Street Hawk and then Krishidarshan. We watched all four with the same intensity.

What would you prefer- daily soaps, reality shows or a quick nap?

I would start watching the reality shows, it would eventually lead to a quick nap. (Winks)

Your favorite Bollywood star on TV?

I love Salman Khan. He is the most comfortable being himself on TV.

Hottest actors on television in your opinion?

I am a news guy so I like anything with Prannoy Roy in it. Not that he is an actor; I just have a lot of admiration for the guy. He runs a great channel.

Do you believe television in India has progressed over the years?

I think it has made tremendous progress. I think it’s going to get a lot more specialized, a lot more niche and a lot more versatile. There will soon be a TV channel for every personality type.

What can Indian TV imbibe from foreign shows?

Some of the actresses.

What is the one thing you’ll like to change on Indian television?

I don’t like it when they go to extreme close ups during dramatic moments. Black heads do not signify emotion to me.

According to you, Indian television is…

Thoroughly Entertaining, for both good and bad reasons.


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