Counter Culture founder speaks of regional content in stand-up comedy

Vishwaraj Mohan

Chennai: With open mics becoming the buzzword in Chennai, it has given a platform for people to rediscover their calling and identify the potential.

In an interaction with News Today, Counter Culture founder Vishwaraj Mohan shares insights about the entertainment niche. Counter Culture is a popular comedy club having its presence in several cities.

Among the many formats, stand-up comedy in Tamil is relatively new and has got quite a huge audience base. Going by the trends, the Counter Culture team prioritises regional content. “The reason we chose Chennai for expansion is because people here are interested in regional content,” Vishwaraj says.

TAMIL PRIDE
He believes that the vernacular language, Tamil, grows in its own course and really does not need any backing from north Indian cities that are known as entertainment hub and that the audience requires more options in entertainment beyond what Mumbai provides.

“There is pride in knowing the language in Tamilnadu. Over the last few years, we observed that in many other larger States and cities, knowing the local language is not a cool thing. We are trying to change the dialogue, and interestingly this notion does not exist in Tamilnadu.”

Asked about the response, he answers, “The reception has been amazing. We started in the end of January this year as a pilot project. It is interesting than what we imagined and we want to dedicate a night in a week only for Tamil comedy.”

GROWING SECTOR

According to him, the industry is just about to kickstart in India. “It’s not even the tip of the iceberg. There is massive headroom available in the performing space in general, let alone stand-up comedy. We see an encouraging pattern in people paying for live entertainment in general these days, and that is our driving force.”

Moving from tier-1 cities, the team plans for a tour with the artistes they manage currently in Tamil in November. “The cities we are focusing on are Puducherry, Madurai, Tiruchi, Erode and Coimbatore. Apart from this, we are hoping to have a comedy club in Coimbatore by 2021,” Vishwaraj adds.

NEED FOR REGIONAL ‘GULLY BOY’

While Counter Culture is known for hosting stand-up comedy shows and is handling seven Tamil comedians, their next idea is to slowly expand, covering hiphop, theatre, poetry and other forms of entertainment. Our core idea is that a girl in Erode does not want a Gully Boy and she wants her own version of hip hop and that is what we seek to it, Vishwaraj opines.

REDISCOVERING IDEAS

Being an artiste is no more a job that is much feared of in terms of financial outcomes that the Indian parents are concerned about. “You can see the change in the dialogue in general around the globe and also in India. Artistes are no more like the five-star hotel pianist who plays in the corner as a side project. Moreover, it is moving away from the hands of the elites and into a wider middle-class audience that now understands the value,” he adds.

Bhavani Prabhakar