Punya Arora is a comedian born and raised in Bangalore and is a self-proclaimed Biryani connoisseur! Her style of comedy is observational, light-hearted and may involve more than one accent. She is also a part-time photographer who is a visiting faculty member at Light & Life Academy, Ooty.
What’s amazing about this strong woman is that she has touched every aspect of the media – radio, TV, web series, trailer launch, the stand-up stage, panels and more. The amount of perseverance and courage it takes to keep reaching for a new opportunity is definitely inspirational! Let’s have a deeper look into her life, on our blog. Link in bio and below.
Hello! It’s great meeting you, please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello, my name is Punya Arora. I’m a Punjabi but I was born and raised in Bangalore. I spend half my time in Bangalore and the other half in Mumbai for comedy shows. I’ve done my Bachelors of Business Management from Bangalore and then my post-graduation diploma in Professional Photography (specialising in people photography underwater). I’ve been a visiting faculty member at Light & Life Academy in Ooty for the past 7 years and the youngest to have ever taught there! Recently though, I have been on a 2-year photography break because stand up has been taking a lot of my time (definitely not complaining!).
What initially sparked your interest in stand-up?
I’ve always been very talkative. I used to mimic my teachers and used to experiment with different accents while I was in school. I never thought I was going to become a comedian, but I did like the idea and at some point decided to try it out for fun! It was a very organic shift, one open mic turned into several shows and it’s been almost 4 years now. I love it so much!
How has your upbringing influenced your work?
My upbringing really constitutes the basis of my work. I’ve been brought up by a single parent, my mom, she has influenced my work greatly. My acts, like her, is strong, confident, experimental, fun, yet thought-provoking!
How do you manage to do both photography and stand-up?
A little bit of planning goes a long way. Both photography and comedy happened to me by chance. They both are something I wanted to try and ended up being good at and pursuing longer than I thought I would. At the moment stand up is my main focus. In terms of photography, I just do fewer – more personal assignments where I’m not bound by deadlines.
What does stand-up mean to you personally?
I love being on stage and making people laugh. It genuinely brings me joy! But having a voice that so many people are listening to is also a form of responsibility. I make sure to talk about things that would make people think and address social issues as well.
I have an upcoming stand-up special which I’m going to tour the country with (hopefully travel abroad with) it’s called, ‘Meri Maa Ki!!’. The show talks about my personal life – being brought up by a single parent and having a father who wanted a son and how he refused to see me because of my gender. I feel like in a country like India, these are important issues to address, and because I can do them through humour – I always feel really motivated.
They say that comics are the most observant people yet they aren’t necessarily happy people. What is your opinion?
Well, most observant people also have to be really sensitive. To be able to write a joke on the kind of topics that most comics do, they have to be in touch with themselves – more so than the general population. The best comedy comes from the most vulnerable places and it’s one of the most beautiful things to watch come to life. I want people to remember me and I want my words to create an impact even if it was a night with 10 comics on the lineup. Being able to bring up something that will remain as an afterthought and becomes a conversation much later- has always been my aim.
Tell us about your latest work? We heard you were on TEDx! Any other exciting things to look forward to?
Yes, I was on TedX, It’s titled ‘The Importance Of Timing In Stand-Up’, it was a fun opportunity. The other milestone to look forward to is a web series I’m involved in, which will be out on a pretty big streaming platform. I have been part of a writing team comprising of 4 women, I’m hoping people will find it interesting. That’s all I can say for now but I’m very excited about this!
We wish Punya best of luck for her future endeavours, please do follow her on Instagram for further updates!