India’s Television witnessed a revolution 3 years back, when The Great Indian Laughter Challenge hit the screens and Stand-up Comedy was introduced into the small screen. The first season of “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge” was a huge huge hit. The first season gave us comedians in form of Raju Srivastava, Ahsaan Qureshi, Navin Prabhakar (of Pechaan Kaun fame) and Sunil Pal. Interesting Combination of Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shekhar Suman were the judges and combined with Perizaad Kolah, the whole show was a crowd puller and the audience waiting anxiously for the second season.
The Second Season saw many Pakistan Comedians including Rauf Lala, Irfan Malik & Ali Hasan. But who can forget the punches by Comedian Dr. Tushar Shah. His rumour and the way he projected the real-life situation into sensible humour was too recommendable. Other notable stars were Raj Kumar & Rancho (Monkey Puppet), Pratap Fauzdar, Khyali and the famous pair of Irfan Malik & Ali Hasan. Rauf Lala continued to win the second season.
The third season even had better comedians. And for the first time, we had women stand up artists Arti Kandpal, whose mimicry on Meena Kumari, Sharmila Tagore, Raakhee and Manorama send laugh wave with its audience. This season also saw great Artists in form of Rajeev Thakur, Pervez Siddqui, Sudesh Lehari, Kuldeep Sharma and Kapil Sharma. Kuldeep was particularly good in the prelim rounds and one of his act on “National Marriage aka Abhishek Kapoor & Ashwariya Rai” was one of the best of the whole show. The grand final for this season was attended by Umer Sharif, who is one of the finest Comedians in the world. Kapil Sharma through his typical Punjabi accent continued to win the title.
All went well until now. However the current season of Indian laughter challenge misses both the sparks and the comedy punches. Further with the introduction of Mr. Shatrughan Sinha, it seems to be a bad combination with Navjot Singh Sidhu and overall the atmosphere is of a forced laughter. Baring few, all the acts and comedy seem to be repetitive and audience seems to say “Oh, do we need to laugh here?”
On the other hand, Comedy Circus is a different show, where Hindi television’s soap stars perform stand up comedy. Paired with the “finest” stand up talent from India and Pakistan these soap stars perform on stage along with their “stand up comedy partners” in a grueling battle for supremacy to decide which “soap star” can be the best stand up comic.
Hosted by Shruti Seth, the first season went average, however with some notable performances by Shakeel Siddiqui and Urvashi Dholakia, Ali Asgar and Kashif Khan and VIP & Swapnil Joshi. The judge panel consisted of Bollywood comedy king Johnny Lever, Muscle Woman (pun intended) Archana Puran Singh and evergreen comedian Satish Shah (whose acts on Yeh Jo hain Zindagi still remains the best). The success of the first season encouraged the producers to work second season, however this time they had a very strong panel of participants. Moreover, the catalyst is Shekhar Suman, whose presence, comments and no-nonsensical laugh have made the show very popular. This show has already given some of the best comic moments from pairs of Kuldeep (who incidently walked out of the show) & Sayantani, Juhi Parmar & VIP, Sudesh Lehari & Krishna (Krushna) and Rajeev Thakur & Kamya. The USP of the show is the fact their scripts are fresh, they work on given situations and as said “two is better than one”, the timing of the punches and cross fire against each other makes this format much better than the Great Indian Laughter Challenge.
While Great Indian Laughter Challenge gave Indian Television the concept of Stand-up Comedian, Comedy Circus has taken the concept to great heights. Apart from the contestants, its important judge’s decision, humor and comic sense should go good as well to keep the audience interested. We feel that after covering three great seasons, the current season of Great Indian Laughter Challenge misses the magic that won the hearts before. And Comedy Circus has filled that void space left by the Laughter Challenge. We are sure that the next season of Laughter Challenge will modify its format and further get the magic duo of Sidhu and Shekhar together to revive the old magic. With regards to Comedy Circus, its doing good with what it has been good and we hope they maintain the same or better standards to keep the audience interested and TRP up! Isn’t TRP what matters to television?