Even by Gaysi Family standards, hosting Dirty Talk twice within a space of six weeks is quite suicidal. But this time was special, as we had amongst the crowd, famed author/actor/mult-talented celebrity Stephen Fry. Much credit goes to MJ and Sherlock Homo for organizing a fantastic evening. Although the event was filled with amazing performances, here I pick my favorite five.
Vasudha Sharma’s music was so smooth, it even calmed the somewhat frayed nerves of Fry who had become quite restless and annoyed by the wheezing and spluttering sound system. Like a bottle of ice cold lemonade on a blistering hot sunny day, she soothed the crowd who sang the chorus when she prompted them to. I am sure there were many who felt reassured that they had picked the right show to attend that night (Norah Jones was performing in Bombay the same night).
Sourabh Pant. What a man. I have seen many self-proclaimed stand up comedians performing in Bombay, the worst of who congregate for the Ghanta Awards every year (2013 was an improvement as Pant’s team was hosting the Ghantas this year – the misogyny still prevailed though). But at Dirty Talk, Sourabh Pant was classy, funny, self-effacing and very very charming. Despite a few Indian references that was lost on Fry, he was laughing very very hard through all of Pant’s performance. I am sure Pant’s marital status would not have stopped the men (or indeed some women) from wanting to give their numbers to him.
I was told by a few that some of Aditi’s material had been repeats from previous performances but I still found her set very funny. I had no idea that you could make so many jokes out of sanitary napkins. Her impression of a Miss-India contestant was fantastic without being misogynistic. Given that Dirty Talk’s audience has been predominantly female, her set went down very well with the crowd. I was half hoping she would have performed for another ten minutes.
On the evening of the rehearsals, we were told Urmi was having second thoughts about performing. We were quite upset by this because we had been really looking forward to seeing her take up the stage. With some tough love and encouragement from Pallav Patankar, Urmi changed her mind again and performed for us. Her talk about the challenges of being a transgender in Bombay was deeply emotional and moving. For a crowd that couldn’t shut up during a single performance, it is a reflection of Urmi’s gravitas that they all went completely silent during her monologue. She was deeply apologetic and almost embarrassed for being ‘serious’ when all the other performances had been light-hearted. This only added to her charm, of course.
Rao Rao Roy
Consisting of Jeff Roy, Nevin Rao and his sister, the trio performed “Call your girlfriend” and “Chura liya”. The former was an acoustic rendition of the popular song by Swedish singer Robyn. They even tweaked the lyrics to “call your boyfriend” which received approving applause from the crowd. The highlight of the performance was Roy’s playing of the violin during ‘Chura liya’, it was just so beautiful that the lesbian couple sitting next to me was swooning over him and wanted to take him home. Because I was just as smitten, I didn’t bother asking why they wanted to take him home.
Special shout out to Yuki our lovely MC who kept the crowd constantly engaged through the glitches in the sound system. As well as Raj and team for helping us with crowd control. Man, Raj, you are formidable and I wish I could melt people with a stern gaze like you do.