The Internet’s changing the way we entertain ourselves. YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram allow us to watch what we want, when we want it. This has also given a platform to rising stars like Mallika Dua, who’ve entered the national consciousness one Dubsmash and Youtube video at a time. A copywriter by day, and comedy sketch writer/producer/actor in all her spare time, she is the brain behind the viral hit Shit People Say: Sarojini Nagar Edition.
So we got talking to Dua to chat about life, her new-found fame, and the missing link between canines and homosapiens.
What’s life like for you right now?
I work as a copywriter and do the comedy thing whenever I can. It just becomes a little hard to manage my time since my office is in Gurgaon. You know where that is, right? It used to be where Gurugram is now (sigh).
So what makes Mallika Dua laugh?
There’s this really bizarre video of a goat singing Silent Night which had me rolling on the floor all day.
What’s your favourite TV show that isn’t ‘Rakhi Ka Swayamvar’?
Now what do I choose? I watch anything from comedy to crime investigation. I love when serious shows suddenly go off on a tangent, like when someone’s solving a criminal case but there’s some romance also going on. It’s just so me – always distracted!
Are you a writer first and then an actor, or is it the other way around?
Definitely an actor first. I also write, but I don’t think of myself as a writer writer. You know what I mean?
How do you feel about the ‘female comedian’ label?
I’ve always believed that I compete with everyone out there. I genuinely believe there’s no such thing as a female comedian. I mean, why the hell is that even a thing? Everyone’s your competitor and, at the same time, everyone is also your friend and colleague in this space. And that’s what’s going to make us better. Because if we reduce our competition to this little pool of three or four people, who fall under this same silly label, we aren’t going to get anywhere.
All men can’t be dogs, noh? My father is a man.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you on a shoot?
You know, shoots are just generally hilarious so I can’t pick one thing out. But funny things happen to me all the time in life. For instance, the funniest thing happened to me the other day: I got a call from someone about a casting opportunity a few days ago. This guy tells me: ‘Mallika ji, there’s an important producer who wants to launch a big TV show and we’d like to cast you – we need a moti ladki.’ So I asked him to tell me a bit more and he just kept repeating that they need a ‘moti ladki.’ This went on for 15 minutes.
Now that you’re famous on social media, I’m sure you have legions of fans of the “ey madam, wanna frandsheep?” variety. How do you handle that?
Funnily enough, even those messages have been quite polite these days. I think that has something to do with the fact that my characters are not very ladylike. Now most of the comments I get are along the lines of ‘hai ma’am, you’re so funny and beautiful’ and that’s okay. And then there are the guys who want to compliment you in the comment section but don’t quite know how, so they say things like ‘woh moti wali itni cute hai’ and it’s a riot. My direct messages on Instagram are gross though. The secret is to just ignore the creeps.
And how do you handle a creep in real life?
I behave extremely childish around men like that so that they feel like pedophiles and leave me alone. I find it’s better to do this than it is to fear them – you know how dogs can smell fear?
So… men are dogs?
No, no. Men are not dogs, but those kutta-type men are. All men can’t be dogs, noh? My father is a man.
Wise words, indeed. So, what’s next for you?
I want to do everything – films, theatre, webseries – the works! In fact, I plan on leaving my job and going into this full-time, but I have a few things to take care of first. Eventually, I’d also love to try stand-up comedy as well, but it scares the shit out of me. I have a plan in place, though – I’ll hit the stage only after I’ve had a lot of drinks to calm my nerves.
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Cover Image Courtesy: Aditi Sharma