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Rajasekhar Mamidanna picks stories from the Ramayana for his stand-up comic show

Rajasekhar Mamidanna aka ‘Anna’ of comedy in the city, is not the one to shy away from controversy. He will stage his interpretation of the Ramayana in the city – The Story Of Ram but with‘clean and non-offensive comedy,’ he assures. This 32-year-old comedian, who was formerly working in an insurance company, began his journey on-stage in 2012. Ahead of the show, Mamidanna talks about his beginnings and what you can look forward to this weekend.

Tell us how you got started in this line and who inspired you.
I was a mimicry artist in college. The feeling you get when the audience laughs at your lines is amazing. I started doing stand-up after watching Jim Carrey and George Carlin. In India, I follow Nitin Gupa (Rivaldo) and Vipul Goyal for their energy and presence of mind
on stage.

Religion in India is a sensitive topic and your next act is based on a much revered epic. How difficult was it to keep the script non-controversial?
When I took this up, I knew people might think I would mock the Ramayana. But, No. I am talking from the perspective of how wonderful a story it is and what I have learnt from reading it. I did a lot of reading and researched the topic. I gave it some time and tried to understand different interpretations of the Ramayana by various scholars in Hindu mythology.

There are vast reserves of literature on religion and mythology. Why the Ramayana?
There are many concepts one can miss if we read it superficially. Every character is a metaphor of some philosophy which saints and sages wanted us to understand. Even if you don’t want to look at it as a religious story, it is still an epic body of work which could teach us a thing or two about how to lead our lives.

At Phoenix Arena on January 8 from 7 pm onwards.
Tickets at `200 per head.
Details: 7893656789

— Nishad Neelambaran

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