February 28, 2014: Funny man Kamal Trilok Singh does not like religion. At all. So much so that he fit a whole lot of his grouses on the subject into one comedy show, “What The Fatwa”, that he did at The Hive. The four religions that the funny man decided to do his take on included Sikhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and no surprises here, Islam. The set was introduced and hosted by Siddharth Dudeja, and although Dudeja did a relatively funny start off to the show, one thing is clear: he either needs to work a fair bit on his hosting skills, or leave things be and concentrate solely on a set itself. Intensely funny otherwise, Dudeja did not seem to be in a free space as a host for the event.
Kamal Trilok Singh took the stage next, PowerPoint presentation in tow as a visual aid, the presentation did seem to give the audience a better perspective on what the reasoning behind the entire show was. The problem arose when the presentation was 35 slides long, and more often than not, was text heavy. That’s possibly the last thing you want to place in front of an audience that wants to cut away from their everyday professional lives, even more so when the entire presentation was in white, black and red. Moving on however, to the content of the show.
Singh started off with a subject possibly closer to him than the rest, Sikhism. Here’s where Singh’s set was awesome: he drew parallels between the Five K’s of Sikhism and how they apply in an everyday Sikh’s life. Here’s where the set was more awesome: bringing a Kacha (traditional undergarment) to his set was possibly the best way to demonstrate the true size of the garment (it’s massive!), and fill audiences with wonder of why the hell they are really that big. Even the ironic size ratio of the Kanga (comb), which is tiny, compared to the “no-cutting-hair” rule the Sikh community follows managed to get more than a few laughs from the audience. His take on Sikhism was a set to perfection, at least to the untrained eye.
Hinduism was the second religion on Singh’s radar. The set itself began with one of the funnier-in-present- context Mahabharata stories of how Matsyagandha came to be born, and all of the events that led to her birth, and so on. The text that he chose to highlight was top-notch – anyone reading this particular piece of text would see the absurdity in it anyway, but he did manage to introduce even more giggles than were warranted. Adding Christianity was the third religion that Singh decided to take on and unfortunately, this is where he made some strange references. Speaking about Jesus’ wife is clearly something that he concocted himself. His expression of “Jesus dying on the cross not for people’s sins, but because of the missus” is something entirely unheard before. But in the light of this being part of a comedy show, the lines were thin between what he meant sarcastically and what he kinda hoped the audience had no clue about.
Into the Muslim segment of his set, Singh managed to get some very strong material on how oppressive a religion it is. Case in point would be the religion issuing a fatwa against Muslims travelling to Mars. While Singh attributed the fatwa to be since Mars does not have a Jerusalem, a Holy Land of its own, the travel to such a place is banned. However, while the fatwa does exist, the reasoning behind it is that a trip of such proportions is akin to a suicide mission, which the religion frowns upon. Where the Jerusalem angle comes into play is a mystery of its own, and while it is still unknown whether he meant it to be his own take on the religion, one thing becomes clearer: the reason people choose to move away from religion is the same no logic, no basis explanation of things, that Singh used to deliver this particular set. Of course, if people are supposed to leave their minds behind and believe everything that is told to them, then it might work. Unfortunately, it is not very different from religion itself then.
A special mention needs to be made of the BBC India employee who cracked up the audiences a fair bit in Singh’s attempt to heckle him. The banter between the two was priceless, although BBC dude seemed to be wining at it. On a whole, the first ever What The Fatwa was an hour and a half long set, with a material heavy presentation, albeit material enjoyable, but with certain chinks here and there. Would it be awesome to see another one of these shows though? Definitely.