Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts

See the funny side of traditional Indian weddings

Stand-up comic Sharul Channa, who married in November 2015, says her own wedding was the biggest, most exhausting performance she has ever done.
Stand-up comic Sharul Channa, who married in November 2015, says her own wedding was the biggest, most exhausting performance she has ever done.PHOTO: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

The funny thing about weddings, says stand-up comic Sharul Channa, is that her own was the biggest, most exhausting performance she has ever done.

"I didn't know what the priest was saying. I didn't know why certain things were done the way they were done. And we spent a lot of money and didn't get to eat," she says.

The 30-year-old distils the many funny things she has noted about traditional Indian weddings into a one-hour comic monologue, Sharul Weds Sharul, staged at the Esplanade Recital Studio on Nov 18.

The performance is part of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay's annual Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts.

Decked in a traditional wedding outfit - not her own - Channa will occupy a single regal seat, akin to the thrones newlyweds sit on to receive congratulations.

She will speak about wedding photo shoots, wedding buffets and a better use for drones than taking aerial photographs of the ceremonies.

"Drones were first used in war," she says. "So I thought the drone could be used to fire shots if someone is b***hy at the door."

  • BOOK IT / SHARUL WEDS SHARUL

  • WHERE: Esplanade Recital Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Nov 18, 5 and 8pm

    ADMISSION: $30 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to sistic.com.sg)

She married fellow comic Rishi Budhrani, 33, in November 2015 at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. The traditional ceremony was followed by a roast where friends and other comedians took turns to send up the happy couple.

Channa enjoyed the roast, in part because she understood what people were saying.

"The funny thing about weddings is that people are making a promise around the fire in Sanskrit not knowing what the priest is saying.

"The priest could say that the wife is supposed to clean her husband's underwear every day and you wouldn't know. Also, they mumble half the time."

On a more serious note, she and her husband sometimes talk about why they had a wedding in the first place. She says: "The word 'marriage' comes with baggage, that the woman has a certain role, certain expectations of her. It doesn't work for our generation."

She disliked the fact that during the wedding ceremony, she had to move from her family's side of the mandap, or platform, to her husband's side.

"From the moment you're married, are you a second-class citizen in your own home?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'See the funny side of traditional Indian weddings'. Print Edition | Subscribe