Mumbai Local with Varun Grover

Dr, Bhau Daji Lad Museum
91 A, Rani Baug, Veer Mata Jijbai Bhonsle Udyan, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Rd, Byculla East, Byculla, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400027, India

Synopsis : 

 "[The human race] has unquestionably one really effective weapon - Laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution - these can lift at a colossal humbug - push it a little - weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."
~ Mark Twain

The cities of Lucknow and Benares have a strong-rooted culture of political comedy, expressed through crowd-pulling hasya sammelans and widely read satirical literature. Cultures of taking on members of the establishment - cops, politicians, etc. especially if they happen to be in the audience! Cultures of challenging authoritarianism and easing helplessness through a healthy dose of cutting laughter. Growing up in these two cities, Varun Grover knew early on that he would be a writer of comedy that has a political colour, that expresses dissent.

We are delighted to invite Varun Grover - comedian, screenwriter, lyricist who calls himself the permanent outsider - to Mumbai Local, to talk about comedy as dissent, and dissent as a safety valve to authoritarianism. He will share with us the power of comedy as he sees it, and as he unleashes it. He will also give us an insight into the traditions of comedy in India, what his influences have been, and what he thinks the future of comedy might be.

Do join us on Saturday for a wonderful evening exploring comedy and dissent. Live attendance is best, but if you or your friends can’t make it, you can join us on live feed on our Facebook page here.

  • Date: Saturday, September 7, 2019 | 5 pm
  • Speaker: Varun Grover - comedian, screenwriter, lyricist, permanent outsider
  • Title: हँस कि दिल आज़ाद है तेरा - Laugh because Your Heart is Free
  • Language(s): English & Hindi
  • Curator: Sanjna Kapoor
  • Venue: MCubed Library - First Saturday of every month at 5 pm
  • Princess Bldg, Ground Floor, D'Monte Park Road, Next to Bandra Gymkhana, Bandra (W)


About the Artist : Varun Grover

Varun Grover is a screenwriter, stand-up comedian, children's fiction writer, and a National Award winning lyricist based in Mumbai. His recent works include the two seasons of Netflix series  Sacred Games (2018-2019), Hindi graphic novel  Biksu (2019)and the ten-city  Aazaadi Tour of the stand-up musical  Aisi Taisi Democracy (2019) 

Varun grew up in Uttar Pradesh (schooling in Lucknow and graduation from IIT-BHU, Varanasi) and later worked in a software firm in Pune for a year before jumping into the rush-hour local of Mumbai to become a writer. His first major break came with  The Great Indian Comedy Show (2005-2007) as a staff writer and he went on to write various late-night shows on Indian TV in the next few years. 

His stint in lyrics writing began with Anurag Kashyap's  That Girl In Yellow Boots (2010) and notable works include the music albums of  Gangs of Wasseypur (2012),  Ankhon Dekhi (2014),  Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), and  Sui Dhaaga (2018). 

He ventured into screenplay writing with Neeraj Ghaywan's  Masaan (2015) that went on to premier and win two awards in  Un Certain Regard section  at Cannes Film Festival (2015). 

He has been involved with writing children's fiction in Hindi for more than ten years now and  Paper Chor, a collection of his short stories for children written over this period, was published by Ektara India's Jugnoo Imprint in 2019. 

Varun thinks of himself as a perenennial outsider, constantly shifting between roles and never feeling like belonging to any room he has been a part of. Most of his work derives from this anxiety of rootlessness as well as his memories of the complex cities that nurtured him. He considers his anti-establishment comedy as his most honest expression and hopes to live long enough to see the subaha Sahir saab wrote about.

Varun Grover
Laugh because Your Heart is Free
Sanjna Kapoor
Mumbai Local