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The Empire strikes back!

Posted July 6th, 2018, 10:31 AM IST

The Empire strikes back!

Anuvab Pal is alive at 40. This irritates him. One of India's most celebrated columnists, comedians and screenwriters is back in the city, this time, for his uber popuar "Alive at 40."

"Americans are very nice people," he remarks. "You tell them anything and they will believe you. I have a Prime Minister named Ola Cabs. 'Oh, is that so'?" The Americans, he feels, are a naive and trusting audience, much unlike the British, who, in his words, "have explored every corner of this country."

Pal displays, in his latest script, a new, unheard of take on the British empire. Delivered with his crisp accent, he says, "The kings couldn't believe the British interest. 'You want to explore this place? Set up municipalities? Here? You're most welcome'." Thus, in Pal's version of events, Gandhi the politican simply told a nation of Indians who didn't want to fight, "Don't fight."

So can India be conquered? "You can never conquer India," he remarks, indignantly, during the course of his show. "Every other country loses, the Battle of Trafalgar had a flag and everything." India, however, is not so easily defeated. "We turn around and say 'Oh British, come, come', we welcome them." How did India emerge then? In Anuvab's opinion, "Whatever they wanted, we said yes. Come eat some chicken tikka."

Two centuries later, he says, "We started our harami. Slowly slowly." Full of 'sires' and 'lords,' he proclaims, Indian sought its revenge. How? "Sir, few people want to visit your country. Maybe one, two, three million. Not very many. They just want to stay for one week or forever. Not very long."

And thus, the British empire proved no match for the Indian diaspora, as much as the current situation gets Anuvab Pal's goat. "In 2015, they came to terms with it. 'Mera Land Rover khareed liya. Mera St. James' Palace khareed liya. Buckingham Palace mein tumhara hero dance kar raha hai." And that's when, in Anuvab's retelling, "The Empire strikes back!"

What: Anuvab Pal,
Alive at 40
When: July 6 and 7
Where: That Comedy Club, Koramangala