Vir Das still picks up the chicken from the ‘hands that go everywhere’ vendor off the streets, he still drinks orange juice and who knows? He would wash it down too and whether he sleeps naked or not, I really don’t know. But what I know is that sex, anarchy and Vir Das go hand in hand. That’s a pretty tame description for a guy who has made a career of provocative comedy and wild-man behaviour. It doesn’t matter how many drugs he takes or how many broken marriages he is responsible for or how many children he adopts, Vir claims that he is an ordinary guy. Well, we believe him because he is just like the many of us reading this interview. His stand up performances, packed with ludicrous digressions and mixing silly jokes with moments of awkward bleakness, have made this impressively bad behaved Delhi boy, a cult favourite among comedy fans on both sides of the world and with Delhi Belly, he has gone mainstream. But with stand up, Vir’s got his freefall. You can see him drifting from tightly written one-liners to more out-there detours that flirt with pure melancholy as much as comedy. But listen up Das – You are now a Bollywood star and you are soon becoming a part of the problem. Buddy, as of now just enjoy your claim to fame because when Bollywood wants a weirdo, they’ll soon buzz you. I know I am trying so hard to sound like Vir but the f****** fact is that I can’t. Vir, please take this over!
“The humour of Delhi Belly is very effortless”
I’d give credit on two fronts – great lines and thanks to the writer Akshat Verma. Also, we aren’t funny characters. Its unusual s*** happening to three very usual guys yaar! Arup is just a guy who has got a horrible girlfriend and a horrible boss. Nitin has flatulence but he is just a morally vacant guy. Tashi is as straight a guy can be. The humour of Delhi Belly is very effortless. You find a guy bald and hanging and then a guy tells you – ‘Did they just shave your head off before hanging?’ That’s humour. The situations that make it funny. There is nothing in the line but it’s a genuine question.
“People are liking my bald look”
People are liking my bald look. I hated doing it though. It was fine to say ‘Ok’. But then they put the f****** cement on your head and you are afraid that it won’t grow back (laughs). I shot between Delhi Belly and Badmaash Company and it’s the weird thing. For YRF, I had to look good and was going on the set at 10am. For Delhi Belly we’d be on the sets at 5.30am. Two diametrically opposite experiences but fun.
“Kunaal Roy Kapur is a genius”
Kunaal Roy Kapur is a genius. He is a theatre guy and largely does English plays. He doesn’t do much Hindi but I guess he will be now post Delhi Belly. He directed a movie called The President Is Coming. Kunal and I are both newcomers and we hope to sustain ourselves here.
“I am fan of that system where the writer is given a lot of power on the film set”
We shot Akshat’s first draft. How could you not with a draft like that? I am fan of that system where the writer is given a lot of power on the film set. I hate when actors change lines without justifying. In Delhi Belly I too asked for a line change because it was tough to say. It was a verbal mouthful. I don’t think I am ever invited to any weddings and I’ve certainly had my last blow j** for the rest of my life (laughs). I think Nitin’s character has the best lines in the film.
“Imran, Kunal and I are the unfortunate souls of Delhi Belly“
I gave five auditions for Delhi Belly over a year. So they’ll call you for an audition, get your hopes up, not call you for two months, and just when your self esteem was healing, they’ll call you back for another audition and then I read that every A list actor had my role (laughs). Finally, my last audition was with Abhinay. The last audition I gave was with Kunal and Imran and it just clicked. We are the ‘unfortunate souls’ of Delhi Belly (laughs).
“My next film is with Raima Sen directed by Tanuja Chandra
I am doing my next with Tanuja Chandra. I’ve lost eight and a half kilos for my role. It’s a film that’s shot in Indore and Ujjain and had to get the Bhopali Indori accent. It’s a completely serious drama with Raima Sen opposite me. I haven’t cracked a smile in the film. Tanuja told me, ‘I want to change everything about you and the reason why I am doing this is that nobody thinks I can.’ That was out first meeting. I was in after that. Tanuja is a brilliant.
“In Delhi Belly, I just had to let comedy happen on its own”
I’ve had some interesting couple of weeks. I’ve never had so many scripts lying in my house ever. The buzz of Delhi Belly was awesome. The film is only out for few days but it’s quite something! I can’t believe it’s happening to me. The world has seen Delhi Belly now and I am getting text messages from some big names congratulating me and my work. I can’t ask for more. An interesting comment came from Ali who is a director at YRF saying that I didn’t have to smile nor raise an eye brow to make people laugh. I didn’t think anybody picked up on that. In Delhi Belly, I just had to let comedy happen on its own.
“Kunal has put on nineteen kilos for Delhi Belly and I take credit for the nine kilos out of nineteen”
I am a Delhi boy. When we were shooting in Delhi, I was in charge of dinner every night. Kunal has put on nineteen kilos for Delhi Belly and I take credit for the nine kilos out of nineteen (laughs). I made these boys eat like hell. So yes, I did pick up that chicken from the street (laughs).
“Abhinay being an architect; he has a very good eye for symmetry, art and depth”
If you read the script of Delhi Belly, you’d know that nobody was mad enough to direct this but Abhinay. If you meet Abhinay, you’ll know he is mental. Ideally your three leads in the film will have good performances but to get each good performance out from the waiter, the goons, Vijay Raaz, the kathak dancer, etc is unbelievable. The characterisation was awesome. The production design was superb in the film thanks to Abhinay being an architect; he has a very good eye for symmetry, art and depth. He has worked heavily with Shashank. Delhi Belly you see is Abhinay’s take.
“Delhi Belly made me look like Mogambo’s retired cousin”
Now I want to do a film where I look good yaar (laughs). In Badmaash I had the 90s look, Delhi Belly made me look like Mogambo’s retired cousin (laughs). So now I want to do something what a ‘Madrasi’ would do – dance, chic and action.
“We do performances for two main reasons – art and attention”
To perform live is the best experience in the world. We are all performers, even actors on screen. We do performances for two main reasons – art and attention. That’s why you perform. In stand up I get my feedback in a mili-second. In stand up, I will know in a matter of seconds if my jokes aren’t working. If my film sucks, it takes ten months to find out (laughs). I never expected the marriage to work between stand up and films. I am happily married today.
“I wrote History of India and Broken Das in the vanity van of Badmaash Company & Delhi Belly”
I wrote History of India and Broken Das, my current show, in the vanity van while I was shooting Badmaash Company and Delhi Belly. I didn’t have anyone in my van. I was all alone. I had two hours to chill and all I did was script my next stand up. It was undivided attention for my art.