Umer Sharif Judges in Indian Laughter challenge
Umer Sharif is a man on a mission. He aspires to wipe out tears from every viewer on this planet. However, he arrives in India looking to be entertained.
The legendary Pakistani comic has been appointed as judge for the grand finale of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge 3. Thus M/S Sidhu and Shekar will now have Sharif for company.
"They (producers) must have obviously seen something in me. That's why I've been invited to adjudicate," says a modest Sharif. On a serious note, the actor states "It isn't for the first time that I'll be a judge on a comedy show.
Afterall, this is how I earn my daily bread and butter. Thus there is no question of me feeling uncomfortable. I'd like to add that the role of a judge isn't simply rating one's performance but he/she should point contestant's mistakes and suggest ways to rectify it"
Describing TGILC as a source of entertainment that eases your frustration and depression, Sharif says that it should not be viewed as competition but a cultural exchange. While he refused to reveal his favourite contestant on TGILC 3, the Pakistani heaped praises on his fellowman Amanullhah Khan.
Still unfamiliar with the current Indian contestants, Sharif is very impressed by Sunil Pal, who won the inaugural Laughter challenge. Whether it's content, timing or dialogue delivery, this boy has excelled in all" quips Umer.
Reality shows have judges but often they play a limited role in deciding the righteous winner. In most reality shows its the number of smses that determine the winner. Umer Sharif isn't pleased with this. The comic says that if the people are going to choose the winner then there is no need to have an experienced panel or let the latter take the final call. In such a scenario, judges may be reluctant to eliminate a viewer's favourite.
Commenting on the state of comedy, the legend says "Comedy has become like a fashion. Any Tom, Dick and Harry are showing up on the stage. Comedians are born not made. A comedian differs from an entertainer."
According to him, a true comedian is one who is very observant. He/she should be aware of the happenings in the society. Your content should carry a social message. It's the duty of not just a comedian but each artist must spread a social message through his work.
The actor believes that cultural exchanges will aid in solving disputes between the two countries. When civilians of both India and Pakistan speak the language of peace, the two governments will have to accede to their request.
Apparently, Umer was to perform on Comedy Circus but his absence was attributed to non availability of visa. But the actor had an all together different tale to tell. "There was no such problem.
I never signed any contract with them. Certain terms of the contract didn't appease me. Thus, I chose to reject it. As an artist, you may get ten offers but you'll always pick the best one" exclaimed Sharif.
When asked to differentiate between Indians and Pakistani comedians, he replied, "Indians have their own style. They get the opportunity to showcase their talents in good films which we Pakistanis don't make. However, the Pakistanis excel in theatre.
Is may be hard to compare the two, but the Pakistanis comedians enjoy more freedom than their Indian counterparts. Recently, India's best funnyman Johnny Lever voiced his discontent over an comic's inability to expressing his creativity as a joke on a high profile individual could provoke anger amongst their fans.
Contrary to this, Umer claims that that he's never accounted such troubles. In fact, often he's mimicked President Pervez Musharraf, who admires him dearly. Of course, it does help that the president himself has a good sense of humour.
It's just not TGILC 3 that brings Umer to India. The Pakistani legend has signed two Bollywood films, 'Confusion' and 'Tum mere ho'. The comic says that Hindi films and their stars are, perhaps, more popular in Pakistan than in India.
He's particularly fond of Amitabh Bachchan who he reckons is the finest actor ever. He took this opportunity to thank the likes of Amir Khan, Rekha who have helped raised funds for the needy in Pakistan.
One Bollywood star, whom the Pakistani is keen to meet, is Akshay Kumar. "We met in Lahore and Akhshay invited me to his home. However, now that I've come to Mumbai, I haven't heard a single word from him"
Well, someone must have not told Mr.Sharif that domestic duels forced Akshay to reside in a hotel. Akshay may not be home but Sharif certainly is in the town.