Dongri Danger review: Sumaira Shaikh’s comedy special blends familiarity into dark humour with finesse-Entertainment News , Firstpost

While her humour isn’t extraordinary or in a realm of myth, it’s familiar, friendly, and dangerously dark without being insensitive

Comedian Sumaira Shaikh, known for her fiery brand of humour, brings the hourlong special Dongri Danger to Amazon Prime Video. In it, Shaikh stands on a stage reminiscent of the streets of Dongri, bringing to life her experiences and stories with animation and vigour. She cruises over some uncomfortable topics with familiarity and comfort, and takes audiences with her on this ride of mostly dark comedy. Above all, what shines through is her energy and connection with the audience.

Her first stand up special, in Dongri Danger Shaikh delivers with confidence and a certain finesse that are often the result of experience and self-assuredness. Her stage presence and audience interaction bring to life her material, highlighting her voice as her sassiness shines irrevocably through. All throughout the show, Shaikh’s aplomb doesn’t waiver and it’s a treat to watch this young comedian at work.

This energy breathes new life into content that could otherwise fall flat, like the simple observation of a bluetooth never connecting on road trips. Since it’s a show focused on Dongri, she also goes over the obvious theme of rich versus poor and their experiences while on said road trips. While this writing and observational humour is alright, it’s the delivery that really makes this set of jokes memorable.

In terms of the content, Shaikh really comes into her own with the jokes that follow, about the hierarchy of friendships as displayed at mayyats, how she tackles the news of losing her brother, and why tsunami videos are a relaxing viewing experience for her. While it might make audiences uncomfortable at times, Shaikh expertly takes viewers along for the ride, and establishes herself as a comic worth the hype.

After teasing audiences by casually mentioning Dawood throughout the show, she finally closes the show with a story about her father’s meeting with him. Her narrative capabilities shine through yet again as she takes a relatively simple story and delivers it in a way that actually piques one’s curiosity. With well-defined characters, she has audiences eagerly anticipating Dawood’s entry into the tale. It especially marks her ability to pull things out without dragging them on too much. She satisfies.

While her humour isn’t extraordinary or in a realm of myth, it’s familiar, friendly, and dangerously dark without being insensitive. Her skill of storytelling makes sure that Dongri Danger is an hour well spent.

Shaikh’s jokes also cut across borders, and can be well enjoyed by all audiences. While she starts off weak with drab jokes about economic and social differences and the like, she quickly picks up and finds her element with the darker humour.

Shaikh, dressed in a smart kurta and leather jacket for the special, personifies her humour, an amalgamation of the obvious observational comedy and the dark, edgy content that sets her apart. The stage is designed to recall Dongri, with food and shopping stalls can be marring at times. A simpler set design would have been less distracting and realigned focus on the jokes. Directed by comedian Sumukhi Suresh, the show also makes this writer glad to see an Amazon special backed by the efforts of and starring female comedians, in an industry still largely dominated by men.

As Shaikh continues building her brand of relatable, everyday humour with slightly crass language peppered in, and an undeniable, unique energy, her body of work also reflects current trends in Indian stand up humour today. Like many others, she aspires to be relatable, but holds the potential to push the envelope further and be more humorously creative and experimental. Her writing shines with moments of brilliance and as times goes along, there’s much-untapped potential that she can dig into. One can only hope she will.

Aarushi Agrawal is a culture journalist with interest in research, reading, writing, and spending time with her cat.

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