The Pant Rants in Manipal

Sorabh Pant leaves the crowd in peals of laughter

This 12th of August was just like another normal monsoon season Sunday in the life of a resident or student in Manipal. It was raining fishes and frogs all throughout the afternoon and into the evening and people were struggling against the rains armed with their umbrellas and raincoats in trying to go from here to there. The only difference this time was that a major portion of this crowd was heading towards Hotel Central Park to witness Sorabh Pant, one of India’s top comedians, performing live in a show organized by DL 101.

In spite of the crazy rains, the hall where the performance was to take place was filled on time before the show started. The student population of Manipal made up almost 95 percent of the crowd present. People were already eager and waiting for the show and the organizers were busy settling down people into their places. At this moment, Altaf Ibrahim, the president of the Student Council of MIT, could be seen pacing up and down with his opening act on a piece of paper in his hand. I caught up with him and the first question was the clichéd, how are you feeling about this? “This is very overwhelming. This crowd and this support that I am seeing at these shows is amazing. This is not the first time that I am opening for someone, but it feels new every time and these will be the most cherished memories of my life”, said the opening artist for the night. As a student of MIT in his final year, Altaf also talked about the beauty of Manipal in bringing out hidden talents from deep inside people, “Just like any student in Manipal ever, I also never even knew that I could ever have the knack of performing stand-up comedy, let alone open for these top comedians in a show. This place bought the best out of me too.” With the start of the show, Altaf took the stage and entertained the crowd with his piece in what he himself referred as “the Dhaniya you didn’t pay for!” An act filled with the usual political satire set the perfect tone for an amazing evening to follow.

Now, it was the time for the main act and out came the man of the hour, Sorabh Pant! And believe it or not, the first thing that caught his attention was the sound of heavy rains slashing through the hotel roof and windows which created a thunderous sound, and surprised him as soon as he came on stage and forced a funny remark from him. The first thing that came as a big surprise for many was when he announced that his performance will be good two hours long, something which is unusual among stand-up comics doing a non-auditorium show. The reason for this was cleared soon after as he reached into his pocket to unveil a small speech card which he introduced as his fresh stand-up content. The initial hour-long piece consisted of hilarious takes on a wide variety of issues, from biased journalism to fiery political topics and from fake news via Whats App forwards, to his crazy parenting experiences with his two young kids. The audience were left in splits as the first hour just breezed by. After this came a full almost forty minutes of a QnA session with the audience present as Sorabh asked people to ask about anything and any issue which they want him to talk about. A lot many hands went up as people asked him all about his time with EIC, his fellow stand-up comics, the other issues he addressed in the past and also about his favorite audience he performed in front of to which he recalled his time performing at MIT during Revels 2016.

After all of this was another 20 minutes of content comedy with highly relatable stuff and the audience laughed their way to the end. In the end, the DL 101 team took the stage to thank the audience for their amazing support and for the various people involved in the organizing party which made it a success. Sorabh Pant invited the audience for a post-show selfie session and also signed copies of his new book called ‘Pawan-The Flying Accountant’. He greeted each and every person who came on stage for a selfie with the same enthusiasm and the big smile on his face and also conversed with them. “It has been amazing performing here in Manipal and I congratulate the DL 101 team also for helping in making this show and the one in Mangalore, a big hit. It was a wonderful experience also when I last came to Manipal a couple of years ago and would also love to have this opportunity in the future,” was his response after we managed to get some parting thoughts after the selfie session was over. Sorabh Pant drenched the Manipal crowd in a rain of laughter apart from the downpour that the people had already experienced.