Biswa Kalyan Rath is an Indian stand-up comedian & YouTuber. Stand-up comedy is the hot new thing in the Indian entertainment landscape and stand-up comedians are sprouting everywhere nowadays, but a select few have been able to capture the audience’s fancy so far and Biswa Kalyan Rath is one of them. His claim to fame is from the hilarious take on reviewing Bollywood movies with fellow stand-up comic, Kanan Gill. Together with Kanan, Biswa made Pretentious Movie Reviews a cult YouTube destination for Bollywood movie buffs from all over the world. Since then he has moved on to other endeavors like his own YouTube channel and collaborating with other online streaming platforms to promote his own brand of comedy. He has his own YouTube channel since 2008, but he started adding regular videos only in 2015, basically after he became a known name from Pretentious Movie reviews. He is active in Twitter, punching out crazy one-liners and has his presence on Facebook as well.
Childhood & Early Life
Biswa Kalyan Rath was born to in a middle class Oriya family in Bhubaneshwar. He spent his childhood, moving all over the state from cities to towns to villages as his father was a State Bank of India employee who kept getting transferred to new locations every two years. He studied in various schools in Odisha, a fact that he later used as an inspiration for his comedic materials.
After completing school, Biswa moved to Vishakhapatnam, to prepare for the IIT entrance exam in one of the coaching centers in the city. He eventually cracked IIT-JEE and enrolled in IIT Kharagpur. He graduated from IIT Kharagpur with a degree in Biotechnology.
After his graduation, Biswa wanted to work in a creative field and started working as a graphic designer in Bangalore. He then moved on to a software role for Oracle in the same city.
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How Fame found Biswa
During his time working in Bangalore he developed an interest in stand-up comedy while attending a writer’s workshop. Biswa started attending various comedy shows around the city and gradually gathered the courage to take part in open mic events for stand-up comedy. For the next couple of years he worked on his content and practiced his people skill in various events around Bangalore which already had a pretty decent stand-up comedy scene. It was in one such event where he met his future partner in the field, Kanan Gill, and the rest as they say is history. They decided to come together, work on something unique, and they settled on doing extremely funny takes on 80’s and 90’s stereotypical Bollywood movies.
The first episode of Pretentious Movie Reviews was put up on Kanan’s channel on April 15, 2014 and it centered on the Hrithik, Kareena, Abhishek Starrer ‘Main Prem Ki DiwaniHoon’. It was just two dudes, taking up one bad movie after another and dissecting its various aspects with hilariously funny commentary. Their rants were often interspersed with specific scenes from the movie, helping them dig their point deeper. They titled each video with specific ‘Best (Something) Ever’ taglines that highlighted the core humorous element that they were going for. It worked, and it worked big time. The Pretentious Movie Reviews episodes went viral over YouTube and were shared and re-shared across various other social media platforms as well.
Each installment of Pretentious Movie Reviews have so far garnered more than 2 million views each and the one with the highest views is the one they did for ‘Prem Agan’ with close to 3.5 million plus views. Other movies that he did ‘Pretentious Reviews’ of are Disco Dancer, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Rudraksh.
Post his fame, Biswa has hardly made any more Pretentious Movie Review episodes, concentrating more on his own stand-up comedy career. He went on his first solo tour in September 2015. It was called ‘Biswa In Your Face’ and he toured metro cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata. He has also collaborated with stand-up comedy giant ‘All India Bakchod’ or AIB on several of their endeavors.
Biswa’s sense of humor is a very wry one and it has to be said that it is not everybody’s cup of tea. He has the looks of a perfectly geeky software engineer, complete with thick specks and that quintessential lanky frame. His looks afford him an uniquely serious persona that comes in handy as a ready prop when he is cracking the audience up with hilarious jokes while he is as straight-faced as ever. His delivery is simple, straightforward and he does not really make use of the pregnant pauses that are so well-known among stand-up comedians. The simplicity of his personality reflects beautifully in his brand of stand-up comedy and that in particularly has endeared him to the audience. Biswa is the only renowned comedian to have hailed from the state of Odisha and through his content he gives to the audiences a rare glimpse into the lives of a common Oriya man.
He also finds himself socially responsible, as he often delivers poignant pieces on contemporary and relevant social issues like depression and youth suicide. After a youth suicide story in Mumbai broke out, Biswa took to Facebook and shared his own battle with depression for nine long years and enumerated eight points that he has taken away from those years of personal struggle. He is aware of the fact that he is currently a youth icon and is not afraid to use his perch to do his bit for them.
What to Watch Out For
He has been signed on to this comedic venture by Only Much Louder (OML) along with 14 other premiere stand-up comedians in India and is being featured exclusively in Amazon Prime Videos across 200 countries worldwide. Biswa’s segment has been named ‘Biswa Mast Admi’ and he is solely responsible for the content exhibited in his episodes.
Although for the time being Pretentious Movie Reviews are on hold, both Biswa and Kanan have promised YouTube viewers that they might be back with one quite soon.