Zakir Khan Curated

Indian Stand-Up Comedian

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Zakir Khan have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Zakir Khan's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming comedians. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

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  • How does the 10-over format help the players?

    What we have seen is everyone has been pushing that bar. If you look at it from a batsman's point of view, with 20 overs, you still see that people take time but with 10 overs, you've seen 150 also been scored. That is a different mindset. When you know that the game is so condensed, you have to go (from ball one). The ball is still hard and new and you have to make the impact in that, so actually it's putting more pressure on the batsman. As a bowler, it's a challenge. Right from the moment you take the ball in the hand, you know that the batsman is going to go after you. So what can you do in that scenario? So it's adding a different dimension for sure, for both batsman and bowlers to compete.

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  • If you compare it historically, the batting averages in Tests have gone down in the last few years. Why has that happened?

    You can look at these stats and numbers in any way possible. You can also say that the number of results have gone up. So the matches have been interesting. We've seen with the Ashes also, the matches going so deep and results derived so late makes it that much interesting, isn't it? The batsmen are playing aggressively and the scoring rate has gone up which also means that the batsmen are playing more shots and willing to take more risks. But on the whole, it has had a positive impact in terms of getting a result in Tests

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  • Do you think he will be the X-factor for India going into the T20 World Cup?

    He does change the balance of the team and that's the balance which we were talking about. So, if a team has that kind of option, it really gives the side the luxury to play an extra bowler or an extra batsman. You can use his services as just a pure batsman and then add a specialist bowler or you can just look at him as someone who will give you those four overs. And then play an extra batsman.

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  • Hardik Pandya has taken his power-hitting to another level, you have followed him in close quarters at Mumbai Indians, he was brilliant in IPL, what has he been doing around it?

    Hardik has spent enough time working towards it (power-hitting). First and foremost, he is someone who likes hitting a lot of balls in the nets and work towards achieving consistency in his power-hitting. Over and above that, you have got to have the basic power-hitting ability, which he has. The practice makes it perfect.

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  • But don't you think specialists are important compared to the all-round options?

    It all depends on the combination. If you have the best quality all-rounders then you know obviously that it's the best possible scenario. The specialists are also important (compared) to cricketers having all-round ability, but you also have to look at their abilities in isolation. A great example is Ben Stokes. If you have someone like Stokes then obviously it's a great option to have and that really changes the balance. In the past, you have seen someone like Jacques Kallis who used to provide that kind of balance and ability. So it's all very relative. It all depends on the pool of players available and the combination which you are working on.

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  • India is heading towards a more all-round model in T20s, the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are also not guaranteed a place. Do you think that's the right way or specialists is the way to go?

    The T20 World Cup is still a long way away. It's a great opportunity for others to stake a claim. But it's also a process where they are looking at identifying more and more players and creating a pool which selectors can continuously use from.

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  • Rishabh Pant has divided a lot of opinions of late. Some feel he's been given too many chances, some feel you just need to leave such talent alone, what's your opinion on Pant?

    For me it's pretty simple, he's a great talent, which everyone will agree with. It's just about protecting that talent, providing a platform to that talent to flourish. It's in the team management's hands to use him in situations where things are simplified for him rather than curbing his natural instincts or putting him in a scenario where he has to think too much or adapt or act otherwise by his natural instincts. It's about using him in situations where there is not much of thinking needed but you have to play just aggressively because that's his natural instinct. And as he adapts to the different conditions or as he evolves as a player, you can put more responsibility on him. I think right now too much responsibility and expectations are put on him just by sheer glimpses of what he can achieve.

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  • You played county cricket, so did Ishant, how important is it for upcoming pacers to play in the County circuit?

    You have to find a time window. It's about being on the lookout, it's about bowling that many number of overs. County cricket kind of gives you that kind of opportunity but so does our domestic cricket. It's about making use of those matches in adding skills to your armoury. Or if you want to work towards achieving some change, then you should be making use of those are the matches. County is played around the time when there is an off season in India, so how you can maximise the playing ability is something which is an option available. As a young bowler, you should just go and play domestic matches. It's about getting that many number of overs under your belt.

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  • We saw a glimpse of future in the bowling arsenal with Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar in West Indies and there is Mohammed Siraj as well, they have made it to the international arena now, so what do they need to do now to go one step further now?

    For anyone, it's pretty simple. You just have to keep pushing yourself. That one performance is very important for you to get that confidence at the highest level. Fortunately now with all the other matches which go around, not just the international games but also the first-class, India A and domestic games, that has added that advantage for you to be working on things and keep pushing yourself and to have that platform of coming back if in case you are out of the scheme of things.

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  • Earlier you mentioned about the improvement in the lengths that Ishant has been bowling, what sort of changes have you noticed?

    The length has gone a little fuller than what he used to bowl. The Test match length is around five, five and a half or six meter, so that's the difference. It's not a huge difference in terms of the number of meters, but as a bowler it is. Getting that ball a little fuller also requires a lot more effort and lot more control which he has been working towards for a long time and which seems to coming together nicely now.

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  • What is the one thing that has impressed you the most about Bumrah?

    The release point or the final stride is when a bowler needs to have complete control of his bowling in order to be able execute the delivery he is looking to bowl. Bumrah has that sort of control and that for him has improved drastically.

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  • What changes have you seen in Bumrah from when he started and where he is right now?

    A better understanding of his bowling. In terms of his own action and how he has control over his different deliveries. That is something which is very striking. Also a lot of work has gone into getting fitter and stronger that has a direct impact on bowlers bowling longer spells, their intensity has rose. Bumrah has consciously put in a lot of time and effort in that aspect. In those things he has been very consistent with and also understanding what his strengths and weaknesses are. The slower delivery has increased the effectiveness of his quicker deliveries, which has forged together nicely.

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  • You have Bumrah, Ishant and Shami forming a formidable trio in Tests. What's the key to the success of this current pace battery?

    Everyone has a different style for sure. Someone like Ishant, who has a whole lot of experience at this level, has evolved as a good bowler over the years. Yes, the progress has been slow, but the fact is that he has put in enough effort in terms of reaching to this stage. I feel the stint he had in England in the County helped him achieve that change. The change, I am talking about is the lengths he has bowling, which has had a very positive impact in terms of earning wickets. In terms of his fitness, it's always been his strength. You've always seen Ishant running in hard and bowl those long spells, now that strength is backed by some smart bowling which is giving him the success that we are talking about. With Shami, all the ability was there, the wrist and the seam position was his strength, and the pace at which he operates is there naturally. What he needed was to back it up his fitness, particularly after the knee surgery, which put him out for about a year. He had to show that kind of motivation and drive to be back. I have seen good healthy competition around as far as the Indian team is concerned and that spurred him to that level. If you want something, you have to work towards it and that has been the case with Shami. He has been driven, has spent enough time on his fitness, and added that dimension to his game, which has worked for him. Bumrah is an exceptional talent. His special ability is the awkward angle from which he delivers, gives him that edge and advantage over the batsman. He has actually adapted himself to the international level very well and evolved as a force to reckon with in a short time. But his success has been dependent on the kind of time and effort, which he puts not only on his fitness but also in understanding different phases of the game, understanding his own bowling and analysing the batsman.

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  • This pace attack has become one of the best in the world, what has brought this turnaround?

    There are a whole lot of attributes. You have to go way back when the academies were coming up, the pace foundation, the National Cricket Academy and Indian Premier League (IPL) also. You can say that the journey of having access to knowledge and the right methods has bettered. If you have the exposure to the right kind of method, training, you tend to grasp things at an early stage that has had a huge impact in terms of more talent coming up. It's not just with the bowlers even batsmen are having that kind of ability and more cricketers are taking up cricket professionally, so the talent is not getting lost, instead it is spotted at an early age and with right kind of guidance is resulting in building a large talent pool.

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  • What is the most interesting thing about being a stand-up comedian?

    The most interesting part, the first time that you go on stage and when you get your first laugh, that feeling, there’s nothing bigger than that, nothing can beat that feeling. I’ve never done drugs in my life so I don’t know, but in my life, all my experiences, I’ve never had more fun doing anything else. I think that’s the most interesting part and maybe that’s why everyone does it. Some people get money, some don’t. Some like it, some don’t. In Spite of that you will notice that there are a thousand people lining up to do comedy, maybe that is the main reason for that.

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  • Did you have a plan to be in this profession?

    In 2010, I had a roommate in Delhi, he had gone to a comedy show and he came back and told me that this was a very good thing and that I would do very well in this. So it took me one year to prepare. At that time, it would cost Rs 500 for a first-time perfomer at the open-mic. And I didn’t have Rs. 500, so I got a job, paid off my debt and then in December, I went and saved some money and performed my first set. It was not a plan, but circumstances led me to it and it happened.

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  • When did you start this journey?

    I started my journey in 2011. That year, I went to an open-mic and performed a one and a half minute set and the people there said no. They were making the “finist it” sign with their hands. On 5 December, 2011 I performed my first open-mic set. So it’s been 8-9 years.

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  • Who is your favorite Indian comedian?

    I really like Pratyush Chaubey, Rahul Dua, Nishant Suri, Varun Grover. There’s an english stand-up comic, Anubhav Pal, he’s very good, I really like him. I really enjoy Amit Tandon’s work as well. These are some of my favorite comedians.

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  • What is the stand-up industry scene like?

    Industry scene is good, we get a lot of people who come to our shows. One of the best things is that there’s work for everyone. If you’re hard-working, if your work is good, in an industry like this, where there’s already a lot of people, you'll find a lot of work in the Comedy industry.

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  • Since when have you been a “Sakht Launda?”

    The basic idea of “Sakht Launda” is a way to avoid rejection. Lot of times, people aren’t even interested in you romantically but they sweet talk you to get their work done. Because of this, you end up having high hopes and it damages your personality a lot. I’m not saying that you should not approach anyone, it’s just that sometimes the reactions of other people really damages your personality, and it takes a long time to repair it. Things like love, if it happens naturally, then that’s a good thing. So that’s why I thought I’ll become a “sakht launda” and I’ve been a “sakht launda” since then.

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  • Have there been any offers from Bollywood?

    Some offers have come but as an industry and as an individual, I’m not seeking approval from Bollywood. We have our own work and that’s going just fine. Then, the offers are often ambiguous and dubious. Aur hamein samajh aata hai! We see through the bullshit (laughs). Everybody assumes that if you have come to Mumbai for work, you want to become a hero. And if you say no to them, they get offended! But we have our own journey and that pit stop hasn’t come in my journey where I feel I need to do something in Bollywood. I’m good in my own universe.

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  • Is there something you want to work upon when it comes to your performance?

    Mere saare dost English mein bahot comedy karte hain. I’m not so comfortable with the language. When we go and perform at international destinations, my friends do two-three more shows because they can speak in English. I feel that if I better my English, then maybe even I can do more shows, some open mics. I will get self-satisfaction from that.

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  • What do you think has been the biggest reason in people connecting with you and your brand of comedy?

    Uska ek bada hissa social change hai. People are not looking for heroes who are out of their reach.They are finding inspiration in those who are like them or look like them. Woh popularity nahi, pratinidhi (representative) dhoondh rahe hain. As comedians, we fill that gap. We have connected with them via digital space which is a democratic system. People have watched us out of personal choice and liked us for who we represent. You watch a film with 200 people, but when you watch an internet show, aap usko akele chhaati se laga ke dekhte ho. Usse zyada vulnerable moment koi nahi hai.

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  • Do you think this comedy boom is just a phase?

    There is something called fad, and another is culture. Culture doesn’t die, fads do. Bell bottoms will come and go but people will continue wearing pants! (Laughs) Laughter is an emotion, so that will never go out of business.

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  • Does it feel surreal to achieve so much in such less time?

    More than anything else, I am thankful every day of my life. I’m the son of a music teacher from Indore and there are so many people in Mumbai who love me. I have been trying to do comedy since the past 10 years and have been doing it professionally since the past eight years. It’s just that since four years people have come to know me. So, it’s not like I have achieved fame overnight. It’s just that now I’m getting a chance to share with others what I have learnt in the last 10 years.

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  • What’s your message to budding comedians?

    “Dekho bhai passion par bojh na bano” (Don’t be a burden on passion). There are times that you might want to quit your job because you hate your boss but that does not mean that you want to be a comedian, writer or a painter. So, please evaluate what you want in life. If a person is good at something, eventually he will end up in that field.

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  • Having learnt sitar, are you a musician or a comedian by heart?

    I am an artist at by heart. I love music because I was born with it. My grandfather and my father both play sitar. I bond with art emotionally because of which I cannot categorise myself as a musician or a comedian. I am an artist who is trying to create an identity through his work .

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  • Internet gives more liberty to stand-up artists. How do you use it?

    I agree that we have complete freedom of expression . But the question is not about the liberty given to us or how do we handle it, as we simply say what society wants us to say. An artist’s work is a reflection of society and being a comedian I put your thoughts in words after adding a layer of humour to it. As for drawing a line, Internet is a very personal medium unlike watching a film in theatre where you are accompanied by others. When you watch television, you usually watch it with your family. But with Internet all that you need is you and your laptop. When you click some YouTube channel it’s you who are coming to us, it’s your choice whether you want to watch it or not. So, it won’t be fair to complain about the language being used.

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  • What do you feel about comedians, who cross the line in the name of humour?

    I don't understand why women and comedians in our country are always asked to stay in line. One can brutally murder a person out of anger but if you joke about it, it turns out to be a bigger crime than the murder itself.

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  • What is your take on stand-up comedy in India?

    From past six-seven years stand-up comedy has gained popularity in our country and YouTube has played a major role in it. We did have comedy shows on television before. Even I have been a part of a few. But today the platform is vast and slowly the circuit is growing. Nurturing has always been a gradual process and if you look at the current scenario this generation is enjoying stand-up comedy . There is a long way to go but before that our society needs to start accepting change. You always grow with time. New generation comes along with new ideology and rather than criticising one’s perspective we need to respect it because that’s how new ideas evolve.

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  • What made you realise that comedy is your calling?

    When I relocated to Delhi, I was in search of something to pay my bills. My roommate told me about a comedy gig he had visited and thought that I should try and that I will be good at it. I gave it a shot and it turned out to be great. It made me feel happy so that's how I started stand-up comedy.

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  • Tell us about your journey from Indore to becoming a YouTube sensation

    Lord Krishna was born to Devaki but it was Yashodha, who brought him up. So whenever someone asks me this question I say, “Indore meri Devaki hai aur Dilli meri Yashodha.” I started my journey to Delhi as Zakir Khan, a B.Com graduate in search of job in general class compartment with 1000 rupee note in my pocket. When it was time to leave Delhi, I was flying in business class to Mumbai. Delhi made me struggle as it took a year to find a job but this was also where the comedian in me found an expression.

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  • What message would you like to give to people who are struggling in life or are struggling to become something ?

    Hold on. I always say the same thing to all my loved ones, hold on. If you have understood what you have to do in life, you have also walked on that path. So just keep going, don't stop. No road is easy. The floor is thoughtful, if the way is found then it is sure to reach there. Just don't give up.

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  • You don't make jokes like Kunal Kamra on current topics, any special reason ?

    I am not a little lazy person. Making jokes is a lot of hard work. What is it now that I write on an existing subject and after two days that subject can also be old. Maybe if some other issue is causing more debate among the people then my hard work will go in vain. I live a life without stress. Does not take any kind of pressure. I am a free bird. I will sit on the table for as long as I want or else I will go to another garden.

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  • So what is your basic mantra of stand up comedy ?

    Hakim never gives his medicine prescription, if he tells, then not everyone will become a Hakim. Still I tell you. Making people laugh or tickle is the most crooked pudding. Even here, feeling and emotion are most useful. You have to make way for the hearts of people. I choose my stories from my surroundings. I relate to the audience and then without stressing about it, I say something that they remember. It can be a matter of mother-son relationship, it can be a matter of mutual understanding of father-son, or something else.

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  • You are always very aware of cinema. You also say that you do not want to go to the cinema, why so irritated ?

    Let me try to explain to you. Cinema is also an art. This is nobody's fiefdom. Here some people have considered themselves vassals and the artist is no slave. Cinema must have been the only way to achieve fame. However, none of the singers, DJs, comedians who are most liked by today's youth, need the support of cinema. Yes, the cinematographers definitely take help from all these people to make their films accessible to the people. I have not refused cinema but I am not desperate about cinema.

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  • All the people who make films with mega budget have started taking help of people like you to make their film talked to the people. Marvel had specially called you for the Avengers Endgame, so how much has the digital stars risen ?

    Mobile has brought stars very close to their fans. Stars have also wanted to keep in touch with their loved ones from the beginning. The Internet has made both of them easier. Many times there is no bridge between these two, so artists like us work to build this bridge. Whether an artist or a journalist, he will not understand what people want from him unless he creates a direct relationship with his audience or reader.

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  • You have become a comedy coach, how difficult or easy is it to teach comedy to others ?

    If you look at One Mic Stand or Comicstan then you will find that I do not teach anyone. Art cannot be taught. It is within you. In which area can you differentiate what is your real art? What happens many times, in the enthusiasm of youth, we do not recognize that special thing within us, which is different from us or which we have the most mind to do. Comedy is also an art. You can become a doctor or an engineer by studying, but not an artist. Even when I look like a coach on occasions like Comicstan or One Mic Stand, I am just the messenger to bring the talent already on the stage to the stage.

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  • What is the most interesting thing about being a stand-up comedian?

    The most interesting part, the first time that you go on stage and when you get your first laugh, that feeling, there’s nothing bigger than that, nothing can beat that feeling. I’ve never done drugs in my life so I don’t know, but in my life, all my experiences, I’ve never had more fun doing anything else. I think that’s the most interesting part and maybe that’s why everyone does it. Some people get money, some don’t. Some like it, some don’t. In Spite of that you will notice that there are a thousand people lining up to do comedy, maybe that is the main reason for that.

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  • What are your thoughts about your job in the future?

    I will be doing this in the future also. This is my work and I’ll continue doing this. It’s not yet confirmed, but I’m writing the second season for my show “Chacha Vidhayak” and there’s a new comedy special coming up, haven’t named it yet, but that’s what I’ll be performing in Guwahati.

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  • Did you have a plan to be in this profession?

    In 2010, I had a roommate in Delhi, he had gone to a comedy show and he came back and told me that this was a very good thing and that I would do very well in this. So it took me one year to prepare. At that time, it would cost Rs 500 for a first-time perfomer at the open-mic. And I didn’t have Rs. 500, so I got a job, paid off my debt and then in December, I went and saved some money and performed my first set. It was not a plan, but circumstances led me to it and it happened.

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  • When did you start this journey?

    I started my journey in 2011. That year, I went to an open-mic and performed a one and a half minute set and the people there said no. They were making the “finist it” sign with their hands. On 5 December, 2011 I performed my first open-mic set. So it’s been 8-9 years.

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  • Who is your favorite Indian comedian?

    Right now, I really like Pratyush Chaubey, Rahul Dua, Nishant Suri, Varun Grover. There’s an english stand-up comic, Anubhav Pal, he’s very good, I really like him. I really enjoy Amit Tandon’s work as well. These are some of my favorite comedians.

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  • What is the stand-up industry scene like?

    Industry scene is good, we get a lot of people who come to our shows. One of the best things is that there’s work for everyone. If you’re hard-working, if your work is good, in an industry like this, where there’s already a lot of people, you'll find a lot of work in the Comedy industry.

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  • Since when have you been a “Sakht Launda?”

    The basic idea of “Sakht Launda” is a way to avoid rejection. Lot of times, people aren’t even interested in you romantically but they sweet talk you to get their work done. Because of this, you end up having high hopes and it damages your personality a lot. I’m not saying that you should not approach anyone, it’s just that sometimes the reactions of other people really damages your personality, and it takes a long time to repair it. Things like love, if it happens naturally, then that’s a good thing. So that’s why I thought I’ll become a “sakht launda” and I’ve been a “sakht launda” since then.

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  • What is your goal in life?

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  • What's the biggest high of a comedian?

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  • How do you feel just before entering the stage?

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  • Some piece of motivation for your fans out there?

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  • How should an artist treat his art?

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  • When did you decide to quit your job?

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  • How did you balance between your job and stand-up?

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  • Your journey in brief as an artiste?

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  • What is the most beautiful part of a comedian's life?

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  • One of the things which you have learned in life?

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  • How has COVID affected you?

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  • How has COVID affected you?

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  • What is your story with your poems?

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  • Are you insecure with respect to your fan base?

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  • Do you become evasive when it comes to controversial jokes?

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  • What do you have to say about people generally?

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  • What was your thought process behind your show Chacha Vidhayak?

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  • When did you start thinking that all your hard work is paying off?

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  • Have you ever performed in your native Indore?

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  • Any childhood memory with a friend of yours?

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  • Any childhood memories as a Sitar player?

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  • Have you learned Sitar?

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  • Tell us something about your father?

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  • Tell us something about your brothers?

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  • What do you feel when someone is praising you a lot?

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  • What do you have to say about Men's Day?

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  • One best Learning in life

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  • Any pinch me moments in life?

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  • One thing that kept you strong?

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  • Worst Day of your life?

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  • People who were there with you through thick and thin?

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  • One thing that no one knows about you?

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  • What happened when you came in Bombay?

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  • What do you have to say about Mumbai?

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  • Did you get a job when you were struggling in Delhi?

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  • Did your family call you back?

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  • The secret of your humility?

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  • Can you say something about your poem?

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  • Can you describe your journey to Delhi?

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  • How did your family react when you decide to go to Delhi?

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  • Why did you decide to go to Delhi?

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  • How did it all began for you?

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  • Did staying around good people help you during the struggling days?

    I have always had the pleasure of meeting and being close to some of the most amazing people in life. The ones that taught me how add life in my years. The first was my dad and then a long string of amazing human beings followed and I couldn’t be thankful enough

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  • How much far back in time does the story of you and your jokes go?

    I have been writing jokes ever since I was a kid. Jokes in essence of course. I begin life in a boys school so I a near unlimited stock of tales that could make people roll on the floor, it was only a matter of bringing them out in the right way

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  • Any past memories?

    I scored an offer letter from every place that had rejected me. I was never going to work there, this was just for the sake of letting them know the cost of undermining talent. I eventually took up a job at HT Radio, a place I had never applied to before

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  • How was your experience in Delhi?

    Friends from back home often asked me if I had visited the red fort, or Jantar Mantar or Qutub Minar, but I was never interested in those places. I was more into what the city truly was like. How do the trains work? What do people most look forward to. What do Aunties from Lajpat Nagar talk like? I wasn’t there to explore the city, I was there to exploit it

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  • Anything you remember saying to your friend in college?

    Yaar college mein rehne ka koi matlab nai tha. Classes hum attend karte nahi the, aur degree ze zyaada apni khwahisho se pyaar tha

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  • How was your childhood?

    I was bullied as a child, owing to my complexion and the way I looked. I was a regular subject to verbal jibes and being made fun of quite randomly

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  • How much close is music to your heart?

    Music has always been my fallback in times when I had no other way to make money. My dad always told me ye to garebi ke laddu hai (the ability to play music is a poor man’s dessert), in the sense that when nothing would work their way, music would sure be a way to sustain themselves, and that too, pretty easily

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  • Any advice for the budding comedians?

    “Dekho bhai passion par bojh na bano” (Don’t be a burden on passion). There are times that you might want to quit your job because you hate your boss but that does not mean that you want to be a comedian, writer or a painter. So, please evaluate what you want in life. If a person is good at something, eventually he will end up in that field.

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  • You're also a Sitar player, are you a musician or a comedian by heart?

    I am an artist at by heart. I love music because I was born with it. My grandfather and my father both play sitar. I bond with art emotionally because of which I cannot categorise myself as a musician or a comedian. I am an artist who is trying to create an identity through his work .

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  • What do you feel about the freedom of expression internet provides?

    I agree that we have complete freedom of expression . But the question is not about the liberty given to us or how do we handle it, as we simply say what society wants us to say. An artist’s work is a reflection of society and being a comedian I put your thoughts in words after adding a layer of humor to it. As for drawing a line, Internet is a very personal medium unlike watching a film in theater where you are accompanied by others. When you watch television, you usually watch it with your family. But with Internet all that you need is you and your laptop. When you click some YouTube channel it’s you who are coming to us, it’s your choice whether you want to watch it or not. So, it won’t be fair to complain about the language being used.

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  • What's your take on crossing the line in the name of humor?

    I don't understand why women and comedians in our country are always asked to stay in line. One can brutally murder a person out of anger but if you joke about it, it turns out to be a bigger crime than the murder itself.

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  • Your take on Stand-up comedy in India?

    From past six-seven years stand-up comedy has gained popularity in our country and YouTube has played a major role in it. We did have comedy shows on television before. Even I have been a part of a few. But today the platform is vast and slowly the circuit is growing. Nurturing has always been a gradual process and if you look at the current scenario this generation is enjoying stand-up comedy . There is a long way to go but before that our society needs to start accepting change. You always grow with time. New generation comes along with new ideology and rather than criticising one’s perspective we need to respect it because that’s how new ideas evolve.

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  • When did you realize that comedy is your thing?

    When I relocated to Delhi, I was in search of something to pay my bills. My roommate told me about a comedy gig he had visited and thought that I should try and that I will be good at it. I gave it a shot and it turned out to be great. It made me feel happy so that's how I started stand-up comedy.

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  • How has your journey from a young boy in Indore to a YouTube sensation been?

    Lord Krishna was born to Devaki but it was Yashodha, who brought him up. So whenever someone asks me this question I say, “Indore meri Devaki hai aur Dilli meri Yashodha.” I started my journey to Delhi as Zakir Khan, a B.Com graduate in search of job in general class compartment with 1000 rupee note in my pocket. When it was time to leave Delhi, I was flying in business class to Mumbai. Delhi made me struggle as it took a year to find a job but this was also where the comedian in me found an expression.

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  • Have there been any offers from Bollywood?

    Some offers have come but as an industry and as an individual, I’m not seeking approval from Bollywood. We have our own work and that’s going just fine. Then, the offers are often ambiguous and dubious. Aur hamein samajh aata hai! We see through the bullshit (laughs). Everybody assumes that if you have come to Mumbai for work, you want to become a hero. And if you say no to them, they get offended! But we have our own journey and that pit stop hasn’t come in my journey where I feel I need to do something in Bollywood. I’m good in my own universe.

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  • Have there been any offers from Bollywood?

    Some offers have come but as an industry and as an individual, I’m not seeking approval from Bollywood. We have our own work and that’s going just fine. Then, the offers are often ambiguous and dubious. Aur hamein samajh aata hai! We see through the bullshit (laughs). Everybody assumes that if you have come to Mumbai for work, you want to become a hero. And if you say no to them, they get offended! But we have our own journey and that pit stop hasn’t come in my journey where I feel I need to do something in Bollywood. I’m good in my own universe.

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  • What is the one thing you want to improve in your performance?

    Mere saare dost English mein bahot comedy karte hain. I’m not so comfortable with the language. When we go and perform at international destinations, my friends do two-three more shows because they can speak in English. I feel that if I better my English, then maybe even I can do more shows, some open mics. I will get self-satisfaction from that.

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  • Why do you think that people connect with you so easily?

    Uska ek bada hissa social change hai. People are not looking for heroes who are out of their reach. Woh popularity nahi, pratinidhi (representative) dhoondh rahe hain. As comedians, we fill that gap. We have connected with them via digital space which is a democratic system. People have watched us out of personal choice and liked us for who we represent. You watch a film with 200 people, but when you watch an internet show, aap usko akele chhaati se laga ke dekhte ho. Usse zyada vulnerable moment koi nahi hai.

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  • Do you think that comedy will ever go out of business?

    There is something called fad, and another is culture. Culture doesn’t die, fads do. Bell bottoms will come and go but people will continue wearing pants! (Laughs) Laughter is an emotion, so that will never go out of business.

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  • Now that you have achieved such popularity, how does it feel?

    More than anything else, I am thankful every day of my life. I’m the son of a music teacher from Indore and there are so many people in Mumbai who love me. I have been trying to do comedy since the past 10 years and have been doing it professionally since the past eight years. It’s just that since four years people have come to know me. So, it’s not like I have achieved fame overnight. It’s just that now I’m getting a chance to share with others what I have learnt in the last 10 years.

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  • How was the start of stand-up for you?

    When Zakir Khan started doing comedy almost 10 years ago, he was ridiculed for not having the ‘X-factor’ in him. “People would say ‘Tum mein woh baat nahi hai’, adding that while I’m a good writer, I am not a good performer,” says the stand-up artiste, whose show tickets, today, sell like hot cakes. “I learnt by trial and error. So, I value raw talent. When I see good writers who may not be performing that well, I get that underdog feeling and I feel I’m on their side,” he smiles. The much-loved comedian, writer and actor who played the protagonist in the web series Chacha Vidhayak Hain Humare and popular stand-up specials Haq Se Single and Kaksha Gyarvi, is now the judge on Comicstaan Season 2...

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