Sanjay Rajoura: An Indian comedian comes to town

Published: July 23, 2012
Rajoura was in Karachi for the Social Media Mela earlier in July. PHOTO: PUBLICTY

Rajoura was in Karachi for the Social Media Mela earlier in July. PHOTO: PUBLICTY


Critically acclaimed Indian comedian and social critic Sanjay Rajoura was in town for the recent Social Media Mela in Karachi. One of the most refreshing comedians to ever visit Pakistan, Rajoura is casual, philosophical, hilarious and quite oddly, not active on Twitter. In conversation with The Express Tribune, he talks about his inspiration.

“It’s totally political and dark at the same time but there are a couple of things which make me angry — people’s idiocy, silliness, lack of understanding and respect for women,” Rajoura said at his performance that struck a chord with Karachiites. “I never write a script. I have these ideas in my mind of how I am going to speak and the advantage is that anytime I tell a story, it sounds like a different one.”

His unscripted acts allow him to share personal experiences with the audience. For instance, in one of his stand-up acts at the Social Media Mela he related an encounter he had with the Pakistani police. As he drove back to his hotel, an officer bugged him about being a secret agent and tried to get a bribe out of him. “At first I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation but then realised that this is the same thing — what is happening there (in India) is happening here (in Pakistan),” he laughed. When it comes to his acts, he claims to be more of a storyteller who uses satire to illustrate everyday life experiences. “Some things always transcend cultures,” said Rajoura. “But I believe that Pakistan has its own individuality and unique culture. For example ‘Coke Studio’ is really a Pakistani thing so when Indians tried to put it together, it was a super flop.”

How it all began

Back in India, Rajoura has become prominent in the stand-up comedy scene. His work is different from others as he incorporates satire and wit in his acts. Before this, he was working as an engineer in Silicon Valley, California. Sick of the monotony, Rajoura left his “respectable” life and salary in the United States and returned home, with no idea that he would one day turn into a comedian.

“The funniest thing in life for me, which lasted 10 years, was my previous job — it was a big joke. I used to ask myself: how could someone be such a big idiot?” says Rajoura who is turning 40. Commenting on his new career path, he added: “I left my job, returned home and had no idea what I would do. I sort of just stumbled upon this avenue, realising I am good at this and far better than others in this field.”

Rajoura confessed that he resents the comedy scene in India on certain levels primarily due to the lack of intellect employed. He believes it is heavily influenced by the West, consequently involving vulgar topics such as sex and drugs. “There are a lot of people who embraced the typical blueprint of American stand-up comedy which uses sex in humour — this is not what Indian culture signifies,” says Rajoura. “But now there are some who are bringing a different style — they are telling Delhi or Mumbai tales. So hopefully in a couple of years we may see a change.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Zeta
    Jul 23, 2012 - 9:41PM

    point of this story?


  • bangash
    Jul 23, 2012 - 11:37PM

    Point of story is that an Indian comedian who uses a different style of comedy was in Karachi and people appreciated his performance.


  • Jul 23, 2012 - 11:38PM

    Zeta: “point of this story?”

    That there is at least one thing that the Indians tried, but Pakistanis did better. That, my friend, is news worth sharing.


  • Giri
    Jul 24, 2012 - 12:04AM

    Point of the story is Software Engineers from Silicon valley are the best commedians..


  • Joinzaheer
    Jul 24, 2012 - 10:00AM

    Point of the story is ….. I don’t know him


  • Jul 24, 2012 - 11:16AM

    This is no point at [email protected]:


  • Jul 24, 2012 - 11:17AM

    That’s the point . Thanks [email protected]:


  • Someone
    Jul 24, 2012 - 4:16PM

    Sounds like a nice chap, but never heard of him.


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