Kaay Boltay

Kaay Boltay is an experiment in creative protest carried out in Maharashtra. Since the early 2010s stand up comedy has exploded to become a highly produced and consumed art form in India. Comedy as a form has opened a space for public social commentary and critique based on the experiences of the performer. However, stand up comedy is performed by and caters to upper and middle class audiences. Kaay Boltay, is an attempt to introduce Stand up comedy to diversify voices in the comedy sector. Maraa in collaboration with Bhartiya Digital Party (BhaDiPa) Marathi online content creators, selected participants who came from the networks of Shramik Elgar (Chandrapur), Lok Panchayat (Sangamner), Muktivaadi (Satara), Sangram (Sangli). These groups were chosen because their voices are suppressed, systematically marginalised or under-represented in mainstream comedy and media. The workshops introduced comedy to the participants as a form, where they prepared their own sets based on their lived experiences and worldviews. They performed under the banner of Kaay Boltay, across Maharashtra, in places where comedy shows had never happened. Their sets included comedy sets on sex work, child marriage, urban-rural tension, farming, sexuality, local governance. This also was an effort to shift the centre to highlight different dialects of Marathi and bring out other narratives of Maharashtra.