Jumping the Shark

“lt’s great to be back,” says Saad Haroon, stand up comedian. “It’s been ages since I’ve done this and I’m looking forward to do ing more.”

He’s talking about stand up comedy, more importantly, his latest act featuring his new improv comedy troupe. This is the same Saad Haroon that brought us BlackFish, Pakistans first-ever standup improvisational comedy troupe, and now he brings us Shark.

But why create a new troupe? “BlackFish is what it was, and I don’t want to recreate the same thing over again,” said Saad. “That was a different kind of philosophy, with different people. With Shark, we have others — people who are passionate about comedy.” When asked about comparisons to BlackFish, Saad replied, “There is no comparison, that was different and it was a long time ago.”
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Finding people for the new troupe wasn’t easy. “About six months ago, I started spreading the word about Shark,” said Saad. “Then the audition process began and it was quite difficult and tedious, because you’re looking for people who have the talent and can easily be taught too.”

Speaking of the process, Saad said, “Once we had everyone then began the training, because with improv comedy you have these strange philosophies and techniques that’s quite different.” And once they were ready, they had planned out their shows.

But a call for charity would have it differently. They recently had their first show at the PACC as part of a charity event. Starting off the show Saad said, “We were supposed to have our first show in December, but we decided that a good cause should come first, so welcome to our very first show.”

The audience welcomed back Saad to his element and welcomed his troupe even more. The show started off with members of the troupe asking for suggestions from the audience on pieces of paper. Sprinkled with the odd celeb in the background, the audience settled in as the show began with Saad introducing his troupe.

Danish Ali joins the troupe after having been with Saad on his TV show. “Danish was the first person to be interested and it’s great having him here.” He’s joined by Sohaib Khan, Sana Nasir, Sohaib Junaidi, Jaffer Hashim, Daniyal Ahmed and Umair Pervez and the troupe is complete.

Overall, the first half of the show was filled with giggles, guffaws and laughs. And although you might have seen some segments before, Saad and his troupe made sure you still laughed.

The show started off with the skit called The World’s Worst. Audience members suggested certain things to be enacted as the world’s worst, such as dogs, break up, etc. It was then the crowd knew they were in for a treat.

It was in the second-half that the show lost its momentum. It was clear that some troupe members were better prepared than others. But it was Saad’s energies that were a constant throughout. A particularly funny skit, Roadtrip to Faisalabad, was enacted three times in three different styles. Star Trek, a Punjabi movie and a kung-fu movie were amongst the audience suggestions and the troupe pulled off all three — with the kung fu one clearly tickling the audience more than the others.

Finally after the show was over, Saad talked about taking the show across the nation. “We want to do shows in other cities, and we have things planned out in December. We’re doing shows in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.”
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Rakesh Roshan is being sued by workers for nonpayment of wages. The case was filed before the California Central District Court on October 7, on behalf of members formally employed by Filmcraft Productions and its two other US associates — Nevada-based Happy Hours Productions and Bollywood Hollywood Production, based in Florida. The lawsuit states: “The 13 members of Local 399’s bargaining unit working on the production of Kites have not received wages for their work on the film during the week ending September 13, 2008.”

The lawsuit further charges Rakesh Roshan and other defendants of violating California Labour Code and not providing a complete itemised pay slip according to the US laws.

The Anurag Basu-directed feature Kites is expected to be yet another location movie, following the trend of many Bollywood features to be shot exclusively around the world. Whilst shooting has wrapped up in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New Mexico, principal photography is still being shot in India with an expected 2009 release.

In it Hrithik plays a street smart scam artiste whereas Latin actress Barbara Mori plays the mistress and Kangana Ranaut his wife. Rumour has it that he got into a bit of trouble during filming and wife Suzanne arrived on set to keep an eye on him. This is the second time this has happened, the first being in 2006 with Ashwariya Rai on Dhoom 2. So whether it’s father or son, trouble doesn’t seem to be far when it comes to the Roshans.
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