She’s super funny, multi-talented and amazingly clear in her head on how she wants to tackle life. Meet Anu Vaidyanathan… thought-provoking filmmaker, author, stand-up comedian, triathlete, engineer and parent. Anu has brought her hilarious show BC: AD (Before Children, After Diapers) to Mumbai (it is on today – 21st July 2023), at 8 p.m. at Habitat Above. The show is part of her India tour that covers six major cities across the country. BC: AD (Before Children, After Diapers) is a standup comedy show that explores how motherhood transforms the meanings of words and the world. TheGlitz caught up with the lady who tickles our funny bone – Anu Vaidyanathan. Read on as Anu regales us with her tongue-in-cheek humour, dry wit, intelligent analysis and so much more…
Hi Anu, Let me start with we love your quirky sense of humor. So let’s start with that, from tickling the funny bone to getting into the entertainment field, how has your journey been until now? Do you think India as a country is receptive to humor?
I think that India is very receptive to humor. I think we live in a very crowded and overwhelmed country in some way. So, I think that we find a funny bone, just to get through life with a laugh because I think that’s a better way to get through life (laughs) than complaining about everything. I think Tamil satire is a monumental inspiration in my life. After all, I have seen my parents come through the most challenging circumstances, but they always have a funny comeback which sort of helps things along. So I think that India has a funny bone.
My journey so far has been quite interesting. It’s been slow and fast in places. So, I would say that it’s been a very gratifying journey in the parts in which I have to run very hard in the race. Also, it has been very mellow in the parts where I have taken a break to do other things. Now, I am back in this field of entertainment, and it’s again a new adventure for me. So I love it and will do it as long as it brings me joy.
What are the challenges and setbacks you’ve faced in your journey?
So I may face many challenges and setbacks. I think being a woman artist is a very interesting thing. Worldwide, this is an industry that really marginalizes women, and it’s also famously a place where women are made to feel out of sorts – whether they are young or old, it doesn’t matter. And that can be very punishing as a situation to be in sometimes. But I am in it because I am hopeful. Frankly, the change has to come from us and not from anyone outside. So I find the narrative of empowering people through other resources extremely amusing and nearly improbable because at the end of the day if you want to write your story, you have to make the effort, and that’s how I see my path through it. So, yes, I have had setbacks and challenges, but I feel like as long as I can face them with a smile and some grit it should be okay. The moment it gets me down, I also know that I am smart enough to step back, wake up the next day and try again.
Could you list three milestones that you are super proud of achieving?
The three milestones that I am very proud of achieving – in reverse order. First, becoming a mom to two children. It is the greatest highlight of my life. I cannot imagine the time without them (mostly because I am sleepless.)
The second milestone is probably meeting and staying married to the love of my life because I think that we come from two different cultures, and there was lots of adjustment between families. We met while we were teaching at IIT Ropar, and life took us on a lot of different adventures.
The third milestone I am proud of achieving is just being the daughter, my parents wanted me to be. I think one of the biggest influences in anything I have done in my life is my parents. After all, they have taught me how to sort of lead with a smile and lead with a lot of determination and not shout to get my point across. To be and still get your point across, that is an art form in itself. So these are the three-mile stones that I am proud of, and I hope to continue doing that.
Tell us about your show BC: AD? What made you create it?
BC: AD is a comedy show that came about as a series of sketches that were performed in London and created in Europe back in 2021 and turning 2022. It went to the Soho theatre labs, where it found its home and became a full-fledged show that debuted in Edufringe in 2022. I think what made me create this show was just the realization of life and the sort of stories that I wanted to tell outside the home. So, even in the films I make, the heroines are not sitting and cutting onions. They are outside doing things and living in this world that is moving ahead.
So I think that BC: AD is a reaction to also the fact that having children changes your central gravity right. It makes you sort of move between worlds and react to the situations you find yourself in. It is also about reconciling with the fact that as a mother your challenges are very different. As parents, your challenges are very distinct as the relationship with our spouses changes once we are with children. So, I think that all of these massive changes in my life made me create the show because I found a lot of humor in the way we deal with things. Also, that humor gives me the strength to move daily.
You’re in Mumbai now… What has been the reaction of the other cities?
I have just starred in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The reaction has been very gratifying. The audience has stayed with me through the hour, which is the goal. I think this is great because I do want to inspire a strong reaction. I think that you need a city that you discover resonance with. People have been following me from the days of writing my book and doing triathlons and then as a comedian. …That has been the best part of my journey, and obviously, I am looking forward to Mumbai and performing here.
What’s next in the pipeline?
I have written two feature films and a TV series. So, if anybody is interested in supporting female filmmakers, those are the productions that are next in the pipeline. I have also written a new show. It’s called BLIMP. It’s going to be at the Edinburgh fringe this year. It is more theatrical than BC:AD and it’s a little more challenging for me, but that’s the whole point, you go there with an idea, and you come out with the show, and I think that BLIMP is going to be a little bit different. It talks about my experiences in filmmaking, it talks about my experiences in navigating the world and learning to sort of fend for myself and my voice. …And break some bubbles about the term ‘the third world’
Any exclusive message for our TheGlitz readers?
To all TheGlitz readers… I would say see yourselves through and be your hero, and I think the battle gets you remarkably far in life. so, all the best.
Tickets are available on Book My Show India and at https://linktr.ee/comedy.av