Vir Das Outside In The Lockdown Special review: A highly relatable Netflix special

After the national lockdown started, Das started performing to groups of people over zoom, and he had to play it all by the ear. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App. But Vir Das to his credit makes it work. The act reminds you of college or home gatherings when people would just trapeze into a party — yes it all seems a bit fantastical right now — and you would see a small group that would grow bigger with each passing minute. The answers range from ‘eating ice cream’ to ‘meet my girlfriend’, ’to eat ‘Asian’ food’ , ‘ride my bike’, etc. He mentions it, and the incident did make national news. Spoiler Alert: Watch the credits sequence as that’s where it gets really cute. #OutsideIn @netflixindia
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) December 15, 2020×1.png
The 50-minute special, which is put together from the various shows that Das did, is not a typical comedy special. We get a nod to China, Donald Trump and also statue-building right-wingers of our country. Wish Das would have opened up more, and showed us more of his vulnerabilities. We too get a look behind the carefully orchestrated image of Das, and there are moments when we see the exterior shatter as Das talks about having a Covid scare, as a neighbour sneezed on him. Now, months later, as we are fast approaching a vaccine and things have started to look up again, we might have forgotten how bad it really got for many of us, and we are not even talking about the people who bore the brunt of it, like migrant workers and daily wage labourers. He starts with a particular question to his audience. People could buy tickets to his show, and over Zoom, they could also be part of his act. Das has gone back to the drawing board, and is winging it, and how. What’s also missing is the stage, the audience that’s shrouded in darkness and a ‘defined set or act’, as Das performs live to homebound audiences from his study in Bandra. This is Comedy 101, a back to the basics refresher. It’s intimate and it’s real. He is very good at it, as he engages with the audience and makes them laugh, at their own expense. We also see the chinks in his armour as we meet a slightly vulnerable and emotional Das. What the special does is, it validates the fear, the anxieties and the helplessness we all felt when the lockdown was at its peak. The questions remains the same, ‘what is the first thing you will do, once the lockdown is over’? Watch the special as it will make you smile, constantly. Over three months, Das performed for a variety of people from across the world. My friends are bloody useless. He has to make do with new material every show, as it’s supplied from the audience, and it’s hard, because there is no ‘defined set/act’ to fall back on. 📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Written by Ektaa Malik

Updated: December 16, 2020 3:02:20 pm

Vir Das: Outside In – The Lockdown Special is streaming on Netflix.For starters, let’s acknowledge that Vir Das has a spectacular collection of headgear, and he perhaps is one of the few men in India, who can carry off a headband with supreme ease. But a lot is left unsaid, maybe that was the idea. We see him minus the arclights, the makeup and the paraphernalia that usually accompanies an A-lister stand-up artiste. Das is dealing with actual people, and he can look into their homes, and actually see for himself if his jokes work. But the politics doesn’t overwhelm or overshadow the topic at hand. The special gives the vibe of an intimate house party, and everyone is having a laugh. The highly relatable special will remind many of us of our own homes, our struggles with a zoom call, and parents who don’t get technology and struggle to switch on the camera on our laptops. In the centre of that group would be a person who would be holding court and making everyone laugh around him/her with his/her observations, repartee and wit. All everyday, simple relatable things. Das calls out that privilege, and let’s admit, all of his audience is from the privileged lot, but at least you feel that you were not alone in it. © IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd There are audience members who are 15 years old, and there are occasional elder members in the crowd as well. There are some A-rated bits, but it’s all in good faith. Don't Miss These StoriesVir Das Outside In The Lockdown Special review: A highly relatable Netflix specialShakeela trailer: Richa Chadha gets into the skin of an adult starFirst look of Saif Ali Khan-starrer Tandav unveiledClick here for more

Vir Das is a creature of habit, and even though the special was about the Covid pandemic, we see glimpses of ‘left-winger’ (an inside joke from the special) stance. And while you are at it, watch Vir Das for India as well, and enjoy a double dose of Das. In his latest special Vir Das: Outside In – The Lockdown Special, which is streaming on Netflix, we meet a different Das in the comfort of his home, and that’s how we get a sneak peek into his hat/cap/beret/headband collection. That’s what Das is doing in Outside In – The Lockdown Special.