The Bollywood actor and comedian Vir Das made a good move by debuting the production History of India — VIRitten in Dubai and testing the waters with an Indian crowd in the city last night.

If he can make a hall packed with NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) laugh at his humorous comments on Indian history, movies and politics, his show, which was first staged in 2010, surely he can embark on an international tour?

The British actor and warm-up comedian Kavi Shastri, who is part of Das’s Weirdass Comedy Company, began with an amusing run-through of how continents came into being. His mild jokes gave way to a comedy on India’s past and present with no holds barred. As Das put it: “If I think it and I wrote it, I’m jolly well saying it.”

Das opened with a disclaimer about the show not being a factual account.

He came on as a schoolteacher who had memorised a ridiculous history book that took a year to write, beginning with a refresher course on ancient India and the Vedas. He moved on to the Mughal Dynasty, naming each emperor and adding the Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan — who played Akbar, the third ruler of the dynasty, in the movie Jodhaa Akbar (2008) — to the list. His comment about Akbar’s wives brought the house down: “He had two wives. That makes Akbar the first NRI.”

During the show, Das checked whether there were other nationalities in the audience and asked them to “feel free to google it” it they didn’t get the references. He also stopped a few times to pick on audience members who were taking pictures and videos on their smartphones.

Bengalis and their literary ambitions were a prominent part of the act, right from enacting a philosophical conversation that a Bengali would have with Vasco da Gama if the Portuguese explorer had sailed into Calcutta and not Calicut in 1498 to Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy. “Bengalis are the only people in the world who write poetry when they are angry,” Das said.

Das continued with his favourite part of Indian History — the freedom movement. “The first time Indians said ‘there is freedom, let’s move’ ”. He linked a lot of past to the present scenario, alluding to little change in the politics of India.

In the second half of the show, the comedian took a closer look at post-independence India. Talking about the kids of the 60s and 70s he managed to wrap up the over the top lifestyle- the bell-bottomed jeans, disco and the famous Maruti 800 era – with some slapstick comedy. References to Indian movies such as Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and the actors Rekha, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Emraan Hashmi were also thrown into the mix.

Political satire is Das’s forte. The entire routine was peppered with jabs at Indian National Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and current prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Das thought it was necessary to emphasise his patriotic fervour a few times in the show, in case it was doubted. His measured approach to satire about historic events and freedom fighters was evident, but it did not reduce the humour quotient. His jokes were much bolder when it came to current affairs.

Das said he was inspired to write the piece after watching British comedian Eddie Izzard’s intellectual humour. VIRitten is brimming with innuendo, but lacks the variety associated with brand Izzard. Nevertheless, it proved a delight for the desi soul out in the desert.

aahmed@thenational.ae

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Rain Management

Year started: 2017

Based: Bahrain

Employees: 100-120

Amount raised: $2.5m from BitMex Ventures and Blockwater. Another $6m raised from MEVP, Coinbase, Vision Ventures, CMT, Jimco and DIFC Fintech Fund

Explainer: Tanween Design Programme

Non-profit arts studio Tashkeel launched this annual initiative with the intention of supporting budding designers in the UAE. This year, three talents were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be a part of the sixth creative development programme. These are architect Abdulla Al Mulla, interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib.

The trio have been guided by experts from the industry over the course of nine months, as they developed their own products that merge their unique styles with traditional elements of Emirati design. This includes laboratory sessions, experimental and collaborative practice, investigation of new business models and evaluation.

It is led by British contemporary design project specialist Helen Voce and mentor Kevin Badni, and offers participants access to experts from across the world, including the likes of UK designer Gareth Neal and multidisciplinary designer and entrepreneur, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi.

The final pieces are being revealed in a worldwide limited-edition release on the first day of Downtown Designs at Dubai Design Week 2019. Tashkeel will be at stand E31 at the exhibition.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, deputy director of Tashkeel, said: “The diversity and calibre of the applicants this year … is reflective of the dynamic change that the UAE art and design industry is witnessing, with young creators resolute in making their bold design ideas a reality.”

Astroworld
Travis Scott
Grand Hustle/Epic/Cactus Jack

List of alleged parties
  • May 15 2020: Boris Johnson is said to have attended a Downing Street pizza party
  • 27 Nov 2020: PM gives speech at leaving do for his staff
  • Dec 10 2020: Staff party held by then-education secretary Gavin Williamson 
  • Dec 13 2020: Mr Johnson and his then-fiancee Carrie Symonds throw a flat party
  • Dec 14 2020: Shaun Bailey holds staff party at Conservative Party headquarters 
  • Dec 15 2020: PM takes part in a staff quiz
  • Dec 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party 
A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

TUESDAY'S ORDER OF PLAY

Centre Court

Starting at 2pm:

Malin Cilic (CRO) v Benoit Paire (FRA) [8]

Not before 4pm:

Dan Evans (GBR) v Fabio Fogini (ITA) [4]

Not before 7pm:

Pablo Carreno Busta (SPA) v Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [2]

Roberto Bautista Agut (SPA) [5] v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)

Court One

Starting at 2pm

Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) v Dennis Novak (AUT) 

Joao Sousa (POR) v Filip Krajinovic (SRB)

Not before 5pm:

Rajeev Ram (USA) and Joe Salisbury (GBR) [1] v Marin Cilic v Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Nikoloz Basilashvili v Ricardas Berankis (LTU)

Neymar's bio

Total club appearances 411

Total goals scored 241

Appearances for Barca 186

Goals scored for Barca 105

Should late investors consider cryptocurrencies?

Wealth managers recommend late investors to have a balanced portfolio that typically includes traditional assets such as cash, government and corporate bonds, equities, commodities and commercial property.

They do not usually recommend investing in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies due to the risk and volatility associated with them.

“It has produced eye-watering returns for some, whereas others have lost substantially as this has all depended purely on timing and when the buy-in was. If someone still has about 20 to 25 years until retirement, there isn’t any need to take such risks,” Rupert Connor of Abacus Financial Consultant says.

He adds that if a person is interested in owning a business or growing a property portfolio to increase their retirement income, this can be encouraged provided they keep in mind the overall risk profile of these assets.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Electric scooters: some rules to remember
  • Riders must be 14-years-old or over
  • Wear a protective helmet
  • Park the electric scooter in designated parking lots (if any)
  • Do not leave electric scooter in locations that obstruct traffic or pedestrians
  • Solo riders only, no passengers allowed
  • Do not drive outside designated lanes

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

UAE squad to face Ireland

Ahmed Raza (captain), Chirag Suri (vice-captain), Rohan Mustafa, Mohammed Usman, Mohammed Boota, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmad, Zawar Farid, CP Rizwaan, Aryan Lakra, Karthik Meiyappan, Alishan Sharafu, Basil Hameed, Kashif Daud, Adithya Shetty, Vriitya Aravind

FIXTURES

Nov 04-05: v Western Australia XI, Perth
Nov 08-11: v Cricket Australia XI, Adelaide
Nov 15-18 v Cricket Australia XI, Townsville (d/n)
Nov 23-27: 1ST TEST v AUSTRALIA, Brisbane
Dec 02-06: 2ND TEST v AUSTRALIA, Adelaide (d/n)
Dec 09-10: v Cricket Australia XI, Perth
Dec 14-18: 3RD TEST v AUSTRALIA, Perth
Dec 26-30 4TH TEST v AUSTRALIA, Melbourne
Jan 04-08: 5TH TEST v AUSTRALIA, Sydney

Note: d/n = day/night

Tomb Raider I–III Remastered

Developer: Aspyr
Publisher: Aspyr
Console: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 3/5

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos