LGBTQ Series: Indian Comedian Vasu Primlani on How Comedy Can be a Powerful Tool to Bring Real Change in the Society

She received the 2015 Nari Shakti Puraskar from the Government of India for her work in other fields

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Former Associate Editor, Entrepreneur India
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Indian millenials know Vasu Primlani as a famous comedian owning to the fast-speed internet that every smartphone owner makes good use of in a dynamically-changing India.

But not many know Primlani is also an environmentalist, a professor, somatic therapist, triathlete and a baker. With such robust background, she uses comedy not only to entertain but also use it as tool to bring about real change.

In a chat with Entrepreneur India, Primlani said comedy is a great platform to deliver social messages.

“Comedy is one of the most powerful forms of communication things can be discussed which was difficult to discuss in society she also said that makes, a change maker, I do use comedy for change, I talk about patriarchy, rape, environment things that are not spoken about in society and people do change,” says Primlani.

She spoke about how comedy is fairly a new phenomenon in India that started off with Jaspal Bhatti and poetry in the form of ‘hasya kavitas’ and Stand Up Comedy came about only in the last eight years.

She thinks it is a growing and ballooning market. By leaps and bounds, it is growing at a rate of 200 to 300 per cent per year and there is a lot of room to grow believes Primlani.

However, she doesn’t think India is a mature audience yet. “Maturity is prevalent at some place, particularly in Mumbai and Pune. It’s picking up in India in hatches in New Delhi and Bangalore,” says Primlani.

Does Comedy Come with Responsibility?

Primlani thinks comedians can be real change makers.

Comedians are not professionals like clerks or working in the hotel industry. They are change makers, they are leaders and they have the pulse on social issues so yes comedians are aware of their responsibilities believes Primlani.

“A Burmese comedian was incarcerated for years because he spoke up about the Burmese government, so the comedian do challenge when the concept of democracy is used incorrectly. But it’s not carried much by the Indian comedians,” says Primlani.

She feels comedy is not an influencing job in India as Indians are more moved by movies they watch and follow.

Vasu Primlani - The Other Side

Primlani has created a niche as a social entrepreneur. She received the 2015 Nari Shakti Puraskar from the Government of India for her work.

She has taught in the US and India at University of Michigan, USC, XIMB, IIT Delhi and IIT Hyderabad on courses such as sustainability, green design and writing comedy.

She is a somatic therapist, working with the most severe cases of trauma. She works with rape survivors, suicide survivors, depression, cognitive disorders, idiopathic ailments, rapists, ADHD, children and adults. 

Primlani has been a police trainer around rape sensitisation and acid attacks.

As a motivational speaker and corporate trainer, she covers a broad range of topics. She has also tried her hand in acting with her latest stint in Bollywood with Badrinath ki Dulhaniya.

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