#bumble | #tinder | #pof Kaneez Surka: Won’t stop talking about sex, romance, feminism, let people complain

Written by Disha Roy Choudhury
| New Delhi |

November 9, 2020 1:20:30 pm


Kaneez Surka (PR handout)

Each time Kaneez Surka got on stage, she made her audience burst into laughter with her strange personal anecdotes, game shows or hilarious improv pieces. The versatile comedian has now taken up another project, only this time she is away from the camera, hosting a podcast titled ‘Is Romance Dead’ by dating app Bumble.

The 37-year-old artist spoke to indianexpress.com about her new podcast, the idea of romance in today’s age, and also the consequences of being a female comedian in India.

Excerpts:

What got you interested in doing the podcast?

What got me interested was the topic — romance. I personally find romance and love so fascinating. I always tend to like shows and subjects that surround romance and love. Secondly, I feel like, in my old age (laughs), I have become a realist (slightly cynical) about romance and I thought doing the show might be a good opportunity to open up a little bit. And because of the structure of the show where I had to interview over 25 people, I thought it would be a really good opportunity to get a different perspective(s) on romance.

How has the experience been like?

The experience was really wonderful. When I decided to actually use it to open up my own mind, it became a really fulfilling experience. I was not there to judge, I was just interviewing people objectively and listening to them, learning about what they felt about romance and relationships.

How do you think has social media impacted modern-day romance?

I think social media is such a huge part of today’s romances in terms of how we display it to the world. Another thing is the pace at which we find love and relationships has changed a lot because of social media. But I feel like that’s just the pace of the world — we move on to new partners, jobs, hobbies — we just want the next new thing constantly. Social media has impacted more than just romance in our lives.

Read| Meet Sweta Mantrii, who took to stand-up comedy to talk about disability

Does social media tend to make us biased towards people when we judge them from what we see online?

What happens with social media is that we end up getting so much information even before actually meeting the person. In a way that is good because I like having information for safety reasons; a lot of times I want to know what kind of person I will be going out on a date with and I can get a sense sometimes from social media about what this person is like. On the other hand, we end up leaving nothing for discovery or very little for when we actually meet the person.

How challenging is it to be a female comedian in India?

Of course, it has its challenges. To be honest, it has changed a lot but people are not used to seeing women do comedy, and changing that perception is taking time but it is happening. And I feel the only way it will really and truly change is if there are more female comedians. Eventually, the goal is that someone will go to a show and won’t even notice the gender — they will just judge you on whether you are funny or not.

While comedians are trolled, do female comedians end up being easier targets?

Anyone on the internet is an easy target but the thing that happens with women is that the kind of trolling that takes place is so vile. The aim is to make you feel indignified, to harm you physically, sexually. A lot of times I get a lot of trolling where people do not like the fact that I am confident and successful — a lot of times, it is to remind me where my place in society is.

Are you always careful about censorship while creating your content?

I never used to be but now I have become slightly more conscious about what I am making. I am scared about the outrage from the conservatives as well as the woke liberals. I feel like we can go wrong and upset many more people nowadays.

People often assume that female comedians will only talk about certain specific issues like dating or feminism. Do you think we tend to stereotype female comedians?

I think a lot of female comedians do talk about sex and romance and feminism, and I think it is really important that we do. These are topics that we were told we were never allowed to talk about. But these are topics that people have very little information about, from the female perspective. Even though people might keep complaining that it is all we talk about–I know I am not going to stop talking about it. In fact, I keep encouraging women to keep talking about these topics. Do not let people make you feel bad about talking on these issues and make you feel like you are a lesser comedian. Keep talking about these topics till things change for women for the better.

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