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A hilarious journey through Indian idiosyncrasies, pandemic perils, and aging adventures

Auckland’s Dorothy Winstone Centre played host on Sunday to an evening of laughter and wit courtesy of India’s popular stand-up comedy artiste, Atul Khatri.

With a knack for dissecting typical Indian idiosyncrasies, navigating the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic, and weaving in anecdotes of encounters with India’s rich and famous, Khatri left the audience in splits and ensured that his humour resonated even with those who have embraced a quieter, more mature lifestyle.

From the moment he stepped on to the stage, Atul Khatri’s infectious energy had the audience hooked. He wasted no time diving into the quirks and foibles that make India the unique tapestry of contradictions that it is. With razor-sharp observations, he painted hilarious vignettes of Indian life, touching upon topics like close family relationships, traffic chaos, and the undeniable obsession with social media platforms like WhatsApp. His humour effortlessly transcended borders, as the small audience roared with laughter, recognising the absurdity in everyday situations.

One of the standout aspects of Khatri’s performance was his ability to tackle serious stuff like the global pandemic. He skilfully transformed that sombre topic into a source of comic relief. Khatri’s anecdotes about navigating the trials and tribulations of lockdowns, masks, and social distancing resonated with the audience’s shared experiences, reminding us all that laughter truly is the best medicine.

As the evening unfolded, Khatri delved into the world of the aging crowd, a subject matter that might have left some feeling sensitive but instead had everyone in stitches. With a deft touch, he addressed the challenges and delights of growing older. His humour was relatable and empathetic, acknowledging that life takes unexpected turns, and embracing those changes can lead to amusing situations. His jokes about the trials and tribulations of an aging body and living with an aging WhatsApp-obsessed parent were met with uproarious laughter.

Khatri’s encounters with India’s business elite provided a unique and captivating glimpse into a world that most of us only see from a distance. He recounted stories of rubbing shoulders with none less than the Ambanis, offering a humorous take on the quirks of the elite class. His witty storytelling painted a vivid picture of extravagant parties, corporate eccentricities, and the sometimes bizarre demands of the elite.

In addition to his insights into the Indian upper echelons, Khatri’s tales of globetrotting adventures were a delightful addition to the evening’s repertoire. His witty observations about cultural clashes, Indians’ lives in distant lands, and the perils of international travel had the audience laughing in recognition. Khatri’s ability to find humour in the unexpected and to share it with such charm made for a memorable performance.

It was an evening filled with laughter, warmth, and genuine connection. His humour resonated well with the predominantly older, Indian diaspora audience. Presented by Heart & Soul Productions, CFI Events managed the show.

First appeared in the Indian Weekender edition of 9 October 2023