Krushna Abhishek, Stand-up Comedian and Actor

Krushna Abhishek, Stand-up Comedian and Actor

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

“Jo mudda hai usmein se chaar mudda mujhe de do main anchor link mein dalwa doonga (Give me four issues. I will put those issues in the anchor link).”

Before he hit the jackpot with Comedy Circus shows as a stand-up comedian, Krushna Abhishek, born Abhishek Sharma, had done some Bollywood flicks. Apart from films, Abhishek has acted in many TV series. He has been hosting OMG! Ye Hai Mera India, a popular reality show on History TV 18 channel, which showcases stories of unusual men and events across the country. With about 54,000 followers on Twitter, about 69,000 on Facebook and about 2.40 lakh on Instagram, Abhishek scores over many other celebrities in terms of popularity on social media.

We met the comedian at his residence in Mumbai. He was accompanied by his manager Arshad in this meeting. In this image-building exercise in the run-up to election 2019, we tell him, you have to appreciate the work that the Modi government has done after coming to power in 2014, such as Ujjwala Yojna, surgical strike, demonetization and GST, among others. But this has to be done in a discreet manner. Concurring, Abhishek says, “Okay direct na lage, aisa na lage ki paid hai aur uske liye ye aadmi kar raha hai (Okay, it should not look direct, it should not look like I have been paid for it).” Yes, you got it right, we say. We will provide the content, numbering three-five, every month and you will have to redo it in your signature style. “Wo apne hissab se (I will have to do in my style),” says Abhishek, nodding in agreement. But the meaning of the content should not change, we say. “Samajh gayaSamajh gaya  main (I got it, I got it),” Abhishek assures us.

Basically, we will be buying your thoughts, we tell him. Abhishek says, “Haan, haan samajh gaya, samajh gaya (Yes, yes. I got it, I got it).” Chipping in, his manager says, “Haan, haan, fir aapko good feel dena hai jo chahiye bas aapki party ko humein hamper nahi karnaa hai humein usko promote karnaa hai jisase inka brand hamper na ho aur logon ko lage genuine banawat nahi lage (Yes, yes. You have to give a good feel. That is what is needed. You don’t have to hamper their party. We have to promote it, so that their brand is not hampered and people should take it something as genuine, not made up).” Both the manager and his boss understand the delicate nature of job at hand. Striking a note of caution, we tell the actor to not go full steam at once. He should rather do it in a gradual manner. He has to post hardly three to five messages on a given topic every month. Otherwise, people may think there is something wrong with it. “Haan achanak se kya ho gayaa isko wo nahi hona chahiye (Yes, [they will say] what has happened to this man all of a sudden. That should not happen),” says Abhishek, in agreement.  

There will be a contract between us, we tell him. But what we are telling you will not be put in black and white as it is a hidden agenda. The contract will show you as endorsing a product. “Jo apni ek legal team hai na jo ye karti hai wo Dilli kee hai wo humare saare channels hain unke saath mein … aap unse contact kar lena ya mail pe kar lena (We have a legal team which works out of Delhi only… we have all channels with them … you can contact them or follow this up on email),” his manager informs us. We promptly agree to do so.

Is it clear to you how you have to deal with the content, we ask. “Samajh gaya main. Haan, samajh gayaa (I got it. Yes, I got it),” Abhishek assures us. Telling us the merits of working with him, he says he does live shows where the number of audience can be in thousands. Apart from doing this digital promotion of the BJP at our behest, he would also use those platforms. He now explains how he is going to leverage what he says is his “plus point” in furthering our agenda. He says, “Toh wahan par kis tareeke se usko karna hai toh usko shoot karke fir tweet karna hai aap samajh rahe ho na … ek ho gaya ki akela banda hoon, main akela masti kar raha hoon, yaar dost bhi hain …  maine kisi ko saath mein le liya jaise Jacqueline hai mere saath mein toh maine aisi kuch baat kar dee apni hee cheej ko leke usko maine zyada involve nahi kiya lekin uske saath main kar diya toh wo plus point hai … doosra plus point hai jab main apnaa show karta hoon mere kum se kum teen hazaar kabhi dus hazaar kabhi pachaas hazaar log hote hain toh wahan par jaise ye mere saath mein hain toh isko bol diya ki too shoot kar le aur wahan kis tareeke se usko mein lekar gaya hoon uss mudde ko … aur ek minute mein maine khatam kar diya aur wo tweet kar diya jahan par log bhi sun rahe hain aur ye bhi dekh rahe hain wo bhi hum kar sakte hain wo humare saath plus point hai … kyonki hum show wale log hain (So, how I can shoot that and tweet also, do you understand … in one case I am alone on stage, playing by myself and there are friends as well … I take somebody along. Jacqueline is there by chance. I will say something playfully on the issue without involving her much, that is a plus point … The second plus point is when I do shows, there are audiences numbering anything between 3,000 and 50,000. Suppose he [his manager] is with me there. I will ask him to shoot that. This is how I will raise that issue … and within a minute I will finish it and tweet the same instantly …. where people are listening and they are also watching this [on social media]. That I can do. That is our plus point … because we are from show business).”

Abhishek is unstoppable, as he adds in the same breath, “Aur agar professionally kar raha hoon main toh fir main usko proper plan bhi karoonga (And if I am doing it professionally then I would plan it in a proper way).” Yes, you are right, we say. “Aapko natural lagega (You will find it natural),” his manager chips in. Abhishek is so excited to work for us that he suggests he would get involved in social issues to promote our agenda. “Wo mujhe socially bhi na isko hum direct isase shuru nahi karenge isko mere paas duss hazaar phone aate hain ki … ji idhar na Lokhandwala mein peeche wo safai ka kuch hai aap aayehge na subah aath baje. Main kabhi jaata nahi hoon toh fir kya karna padega humko socially ghusna padega (I will [have to do it] socially. You see, I will not start it directly. I get thousands of phone calls telling me ‘… ji There is some cleanliness drive at 8 in the morning in Lokhandwala.’ I never go there. But now I have will have to get involved socially in these issues),” says Abhishek. We are quite effusive in our praise of his approach.     

With Abhishek completely hooked to our agenda, it was time to negotiate his fee. But Abhishek delegates the negotiation to Arshad, his manager. “Nahi ye bahut comfortable hain aisa nahi hai mujhe aap batao aap kya soch rahe ho kaise soch rahe ho (No, he is very comfortable. No issues, tell me what and how you are thinking about it),” he tells about his boss. You tell us what your expectation is, we ask. “Aap ye nau mahine ka soch rahe hain ya per month (You are thinking of [paying us for] nine months or per month),” he asks in turn. You will be paid in advance every month during the course of this contract, we say.  At this point, Abhishek chips in to share an idea to take our agenda to an international level. He says, “Nahi, theek hai mera ek … dost rehta hai mera wo India ke topics pe baat karta hai (No, that is fine … one of my friends lives there. He talks on India-centric topics).” Chips in his manager, “Hum ghuma sakte hain isko (We can circulate your agenda).” Before we could ask how, Abhishek explains it to us in these words, “Mera paanchavan season abhi mera September mein shoot ho raha hai hum log pataa kya kar skate hain aap believe nahi karoge jo mudda hai usmein se chaar mudda mujhe de do main anchor link mein dalwa doonga … main anchor link mein dalwa doonga unko nahi boloonga … hum apne hissab writer ke saath toh main hee baithta hoon unke bolta toh main hee hoon aur main baat kiski kar raha hoon Hindustan kee main baat kar raha hoon India kee (The fifth season of my show is going for shoot in September. You know what we can do? You will not believe it. Give me four issues. I will put those issues in the anchor link … I will get them in the anchor link. I will not tell him about it … I sit with the writer and it is me who does all the talking. Then what I am talking about? It is Hindustan. I am talking about India).” We are really floored by this idea of putting in our topics in his show OMG.

Now, coming back to his fee, the manager again asks, “Kaise karoge aap pehle ye bataao kaise soch rahe ho (First, tell us how you will do it? What do you think)?” You see, there will be five contents to be written about in a month on all three social media platforms, we say. So, there will be in all 15 messages to be posted. He quotes a fee of Rs. 90 lakh per month, telling us it is a political promotion. It is a way bit on higher side, we say. We will pay Rs. 5 lakh per message, which comes to Rs. 75 lakh a month. Only 10 percent of this sum will be paid in white, the rest in cash. The fee will be paid in advance every month. Hope you get it. “Haan, bahut acche (Yes, [I get it] very well),” says the manager, appreciating. Then he asks, “Hum log agreement mein baithenge … agreement kee kya terms and conditions hain agreement mein hum kitna comfortable hain (We will sit for the agreement … what are the terms and conditions of this agreement … how comfortable we are in the agreement)?” There will be agreement just for the heck of it. “Hum apne ko sirf safe karna chaahte hain (We want make it safe for ourselves),” the manager says. We tell him, there will be a small contract showing your boss as endorsing some products and only the white component of his fee will be mentioned in that contract. Satisfied, the manager asks next, “Paisa ghar pe (You will deliver the cash at home)?” Yes, we say. We can deliver the cash anywhere you want us to.

The deal struck thus, we take the leave of the stand-up comedian.

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