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Sumukhi Suresh : There She Goes 'Hoemonal' Again As the award winning Indian comic Sumukhi Suresh, who doesn't really mind the tag of a 'female comic' for some logical reason, working on multiple projects, along with running her writing studio Motormouth Writers Pvt Ltd and gearing up for her next comic show 'Hoemonal' in Mumbai on June 15, she sits with Entrepreneur India for an insightful conversation

By Arundhuti Banerjee

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Sumukhi Suresh, comic

Sumukhi Suresh, in last one decade, has given multiple occasions to her audience to laugh, to wonder, to feel inspired and feel proud of her. With the award winning web series Pushpavalli, created and performed by her, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, by participating in BAFTA Breakthrough under performer category, with her standup shows like Comicstaan and several live shows across the globe – Sumukhi has taken new-age Indian comedy to the next level.

In conversation, she opens up more on her upcoming show, balancing art and business and why the number of female comic is still less, than their male counterpart

Content, body over mind positivity and a dash of humour

Sumukhi has been dealing with hormonal issues and PCOS from the time she entered in her adolescence. The constant hormonal issue, though initially affected her confidence due to her body image and physical pain, eventually she learnt to laugh at her suffering.

Talking about the situation, she laughed out loud by sharing, " You know I think from the time I was born, even before my brain developed, my ovarian cyst started developing, really!(laugh) my hormonal imbalance is off the chart! There are mood swings too! Also I just realised that my body never followed the rule book, when most of my friends got their periods at the age of 12, I got it when I was 16!"

She went on adding, "When my breakup happened, many of my friends said that I should find someone soon otherwise I might just have to die alone. I panicked you know, may be because of our social conditioning we feel that nothing is worse than staying single."

As timed passed by, the Pushpavalli star came to an interesting realization. She said, "Shall we just normalize this whole thing of 'dying alone' cool? I am happy as a single girl, though that does not mean that I do not want to be with someone, but even then I can die alone, right? The social pressure is not cool at all!"

Eventually, these experiences shaped her mind and she started accepting life as it is, with a dash of humour because her instant reaction to any tough situation is, in her words, "I laugh, when it gets tough".

That breakup and birth of 'Hoemonal'

Sharing the inception of the show, Sumukhi shared how one personal incident followed by series of realization nudged her to write the story that eventually became a show.

"I had my breakup on my 30th birthday. I was in that relationship for last 10 years. Usually we are conditioned that if you have a love relation in your 20's and lasts for long, then romantically you are settled. But when the breakup happened I thought that I have to start again from the scratch and I am not settled anymore. However, as the days passed by I realized that I am more settled now than ever! I am working on myself along with my various hormonal imbalances."

"I started writing the show during the pandemic so I took time to develop the show. It was a journey within," she further added.

100 to 1000 is just the first step

While with each of her solo show she is growing her audience members. However, her aim with the show Hoemonal was to grow it from 100 to 1000 to 1500 and more. She observed how it is not such a big deal for a male comic to get such footfall as much as it is for a female comic.

Asked the reason behind such unfair struggle, Sumukhi pointed out, "last year in January I did a 1200 seater in Bangalore and I realised no female comic of our generation did it before. I was so shocked. Though it started to happen afterwards. The fact is, all of us female comedians have our own voice and audience. But even then, when it comes to ticket selling, promotion budget and more, investments are different for a female comic from their male counterpart."

She said that it has nothing to do with the audience necessarily or the talent, but a lot to do with who are taking risk and investing money for promoting a female comic.

Female comic, 'not' a bad tag

Though we have many successful female comic in the business including Prashasti Singh, Gurleen Pannu, Kaneez Surkha, Jamie Lever among others more than often an artist wants to identify themselves as an artist without a tag of their gender identity. In this case, just a comedian, and not the tag of a female comedian.

"I understood life better now and I do not mind the tag anymore. With time I realized that comic is an art form and eventually it is the art that matters not the gender of the artist. If my joke is really funny, laughter will come naturally, it either works or it doesn't! The power of art is its impact, after a point, gender does not matter, art speaks for itself," I realized in last 10 years.

However, the struggle for a female comic is not just limited to investment on talent or show organizers but it has an involvement of women's safety.

"I am living in Mumbai and for girls like us, who are in urban area, aren't facing the issue of safety and security as much as a girl from a small town is facing. A lot of open mic happens in the late evenings and people gather after a long day of work. We do not see many girls in those shows, because even today, many girls do not get the permission from their homes to do such late night shows, due to women's safety and security. So, unless, we make our environment safe for girls, nothing can flourish, including art," said the artist.

Motormouth and the business of people

Sumukhi launched her writing studio Motormouth Writers Pvt Ltd in 2022. Recently she along with her team of writers in Motormouth finished writing the dialogue for one of the upcoming project by the celebrated filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane. Two young writers from their team also finished writing an upcoming film by Tushar Hiranandani, who is beaming with the recent success of Rajkummar Rao's Srikanth.

Asked to share more and Sumukhi responded, "I can't keep calm to share everything but unless the official announcement happens, we have to wait for further details. This year, with the kind of project we are doing, I can say that I am finally taking the risk that I should have talent with Motor Mouth before."

Currently, the artist turned entrepreneur is working with four writers and each of them is handling two projects each. Many writers have come from small cities and according to Sumukhi, their different background and experience is adding diversity to the writers' room.

The business of talent, art and artiste

The journey of an entrepreneur involves a lot of risk taking decision and in any creative business; the stakes are even higher.

Asked about how she is balancing her studio as well as a full fledged career as comic, Sumukhi said, "When I think about art, I think from my heart. One has to think from head, when it comes to business, but I am saying, it can coexist, without any conflict."

She continued, "The fact is, I am good at put together many talents and I know that there are many writers working in our company who are way more talented than I am. We have created a space for writers who have talent, and unique voice that we need in the business. You see, there are writers who just want to focus on writing; I on the other hand, want to do everything. I love my stage, I love acting, I love writing and putting up a show together. So the artist and the businesswoman who is producing shows and running a studio can coexist."

"There are two kinds of business for any entrepreneur, the business of product and business of people. I am here for the later," she signed off.

Arundhuti Banerjee

Content Editor

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