A natural progression for any comedian is moving from doing Open Mics and collaborations to having their own specials. 60 uninterrupted minutes where they make the audience laugh out loud. Most comedians use anecdotes from their lives to entertain us while others use humor to rally causes close to their hearts. When someone tells you that there is a stand-up special on Ramayan, you can feel the trouble brewing and you wouldn't be wrong. But five minutes into Raja Sekhar's show and you know you couldn't be more wrong. The Legend of Ram has just completed its 15th show. It is a Raja Sekhar Mamidanna's stand-up special where he retells the Ramayana from his perspective. His latest performance was at The Square in Powai on a fine Saturday evening.
Raja Sekhar, unlike his contemporaries, doesn't have a huge social media presence and it works in his favor since there is a freshness to his act and none of the bits from this special have been spoiled for you. He starts the show by talking about his life as to how he completed his engineering, did an MBA and then became an entrepreneur (apparently, that's what everyone does). He then proceeded to tell us how he came to write this special. We will let him tell you the reason when you watch catch this show in your city.
The special is divided into a series of six stories because he is a huge fan of Harry Potter (who isn't?). The audience is required to applause each time he narrated the title of the story and each time he completed the story (because that's how it works). The show is not meant as an offense to Ramayana or to belittle the message it carries. It is very easy to ridicule anything but it is very difficult to find the hidden meaning in something and making people laugh while you get your point across. The one thing that was very special about this special was the insight he had about the story we have about a hundred times. There was a lot of research done and it showed as he quoted different versions of the Ramayana with each giving a unique insight into the kind of writer Valmiki was.
Another thing that got us laughing every time was the dialogues. Raja Sekhar uses modern slang to narrate the dialogues which they had and that is no doubt one of the most hilarious parts of the show. He concludes the show with what he learned from the stories and while he is giving you an important life lesson you will not stop smiling.
As a fellow Hyderabadi, I really enjoyed the Hyderabadi twang in his narration. Also, his audience interaction was without malice. There are very few stand-up comedians who don't resort to insults to make a point and he was one of them.