On my pinboard - Kaneez Surka

On my pinboard - Kaneez Surka

She has people eating out of her hands from the minute she walks on stage. One of the prominent  women comedians in the country, she stepped into the field of improvisation in 2009. Artiste Kaneez Surka has given a new meaning to the term versatility.

Apart from conducting various improv workshops, she has been a part of numerous sketch and standup shows. Particularly known for being part of a popular show with artistes Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar, she has also been a part of various groups such as ‘The Improvisers’ and ‘Improv Comedy Mumbai’, where every performance has turned into a laugh riot.

The Mumbai-based artiste, who visits Bengaluru regularly for workshops, says that the City holds a special place in her heart for she conducted her first improv workshop here. She talks about a few of her influences and inspirations.
(As told to Anushka Sivakumar)

1  |  Inspiration
Most people mistake me for a standup comedian but I am actually more of an improviser and into sketch comedy. And these two artistes are phenomenal. They have great ideas and have strongly influenced my work. I really enjoy watching them.

Amy’s work in ‘Park’s And Recreation’ and Will’s ‘Charligator’ are my all-time favourites. ‘Parks and Rec’ is an American political comedy television sitcom where Amy stars as Leslie Knope, a perky, mid-level bureaucrat in the parks department in Indiana.

Both of them started with improv and I really like their sense of comedy, which has so many awkward moments. More than one-liners and punchlines, I enjoy these moments and that is how I hope to pursue comedy. 

2  |  Place

My favourite destination is Cape Town. I am now settled in Mumbai but I miss my family, who are there, a lot. My visits there are more about going and spending some quality time with them and enjoying my time at home. I try to make time from my busy schedule and go there at least once a year. The people are more important to me than the place. The place, as such, is very different from India in terms of landscape and lifestyle. It is really serene and beautiful. It’s the only place where the mountain overlooks the ocean. The scenery makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in terms of international travel. The climate in Cape Town is great and I feel very relaxed every time I go there. The city also has several cultural attractions and is noted for its rich architectural heritage. It also has wonderful beaches, each with their own atmosphere, and is a pleasant place to be at.

3  |  Book
‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of my all-time favourites. It was given to me by a friend and was just gathering dust at home for 2 years. However, once I picked it up, I couldn’t put the book down for 3 days. I love the idea of how someone waits for one woman all their life and gets to be with her at the end. There is so much brilliance in the characterisation. The book is sad and beautiful at the same time.

Another book I deeply connect with is ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F Scott Fitzgerald. I read it when I was 16 years old. It was part of our curriculum. I like how someone falls in love with the idea of a perfect person and later realises that the person isn’t what they thought they would be.

4  |  Movie

The movie ‘Dead Poets Society’ is very inspiring. I watched it when I was 10 years old and I still watch it, without getting bored. I have watched it more than 10 times when I was a teenager and it holds a special place in my heart. I love the connect that John Keating (Robin Williams) has with his students and the unconventional methods he uses to bring out the best in the students. I like his passion for teaching.

The movie clearly depicts, through wonderful acting, how the he has touched his students’ lives and left a lasting impact on them. Towards the end, I love the part when everybody salutes him with ‘O Captain! My Captain!’. I cry everytime I watch that scene and even after the movie is over.

5  |  Musician

I enjoy every song from Justin Bieber’s latest album ‘Purpose’. I love all of his songs and I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m a huge fan. I like the fact that he has made something out of himself.I also love the song ‘Elephant Gun’ by ‘Beirut’. It’s not very popular in the mainstream circle but is better known in the alternative rock music realm.
A friend told me about the band and I really love their music. Their lyrics and music are powerful and meaningful at the same time. It’s a joy to listen to their music. 

6  |  Cuisine

I’m not a big foodie. I don’t live to eat but I eat to live. I’m not someone who cooks for herself. I’d cook if there are other people around. I’m not a huge fan of Indian food. I find it too heavily stuffed and too flavourful. I don’t like cuisines with too much ‘masala’. I enjoy bland food and meat and mashed potatoes is my favourite. I also eat a lot of vegetables. And I love roast chicken. This is the kind of food I always cook, when I do.  

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