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Personality

`Mine is wit, not comedy'

Navjot Singh Sidhu takes his humorous side quite seriously in his new role


I hate the word comedian. Call me witty, I love itNavjot Singh Sidhu

Photo: K. Gajendran

SIDHUSPEAK: Navjot Singh Sidhu dons a new hat with the show "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge"

A confession first. Talking to Navjot Singh Sidhu is easier said than done. He talks faster than you can think. So, you have to be a P.T. Usha all set to do the fastest mind walking possible. He is a witty talker too, so unlike his image as a cricketer when he was known only for pushing and plodding in the early days of his career. And, if you can't keep pace with wittier answers, all you end up doing is laughing.

And that's what he loves doing. Keeping you deliberately tangled in his witty web, convincing you by the minute that his is not a cultivated, well-prepared salvo but a natural flow of wit.

"Call it witty, I love it. I hate the word comedian. It is somewhat derogatory. Wit is close to the word wise, isn't it?" states Sidhu. First a cricketer, then a commentator, and then a Member of Parliament, Sidhu has given himself different profiles faster than his beard could grow. A jack of all trades purely. He loves the tag, though, leaving you guessing if he is the monarch of anything he surveys!

"I am changing colours like a chameleon, but believe me, I am harmless. I am in love with whatever I am doing. I never planned my life. I take it as it comes. Tomorrow is another day," says the former opening batsman, often accused of picking and choosing his matches.

Reality show

The latest addition to his resume is his entry into the reality show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge on Star One as a co-judge with Shekhar Suman, the other non-stop gag box.

Stationed now in Mumbai to shortlist contestants for the show, Sidhu is all verve. Much like what he displayed while fielding towards the fag end of his career.

"Can you believe it, it is an Everest of applications. It has touched the two lakh mark already." Instead of hopping from city to city hunting for the best comedian in town, Sidhu says, "The cities would come to Mumbai after the contestants are short-listed." Teaming up with Shekhar, all Sidhu would look for in the winner is originality and spontaneity.

"He has to be a pro and qualify fully the show's line, Haste Hasaate Hasti Ban Jao," says this Punjab da puttar. "But if that's tough for a contestant, it is a challenge for me too," he adds.

Talking of humour, Sidhu swears that he has "so far not hit anyone below the belt. Mine is all in good humour, no sarcasm. I strongly believe the eternal law that whatever you throw up comes down too. Also, I give out my wit in small doses. Good things come in small packages." And that justifies the witty one-liners that lace his cricket commentary.

"The pitch is as dead as a dodo," "Indian team without Sachin is like giving a kiss without a squeeze," "The ball went so high that it could have brought an airhostess down with it," "The cat with gloves catches no mice," blah, blah blah.

Sidhu laughs heartily when you repeat his lines to him. "You might think I must have had many sleepless nights constructing my lines, but I back my originality. It is no put-on," he says, a tad defensive.

Happy MP

Shuttling between his constituency Amritsar and Patiala "for bread and butter," this former commentator for ESPN-Star gives himself good marks as an MP too.

"Unlike many, I ask questions in Parliament. I am quite happy with the developments in my constituency. I never made promises to my voters because promises are made to be broken. I always believe that the only room that is always available is the room for development. So far, I have never shirked my duties," he fills you up with his `isms'. Leaving you almost siding with him. And you can only agree with him, after all, "you can't make omelettes without breaking the eggs." Gosh!

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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