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We all grew up reading Varun Agarwal’s best selling book, “How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company”, which left us inspired and told us it was okay to rebel against the Anu aunties of our lives and chase our dreams. But who comes to your mind when you think of Anu Aunty? Yes, that’s right! Sumukhi Suresh.

If you’re a regular at The Improv or love watching hilarious viral videos, then chances are you’ve wanted to be best friends with Sumukhi Suresh!
Before meeting her for a chat, I looked up about her and this what I found:
“Sumukhi Suresh is an improv, sketch and stand up comedian from Bangalore. She is a motormouth, Hindi speaking tamalayali who has an annoying need to show off her dimple owing to her insecurities. Her parents have called to tell us that they are ready to accept her back in the family if she decides to stop laughing loudly and wake up the dead. Since shaadi.com has rejected her profile, she is doing stand up to hunt for a suitable groom. Rumour has it that she claims to cook well for strangers and then call them as her friends.”
What’s more hilarious than this write-up, is the woman herself. I have trouble asking her questions, as she’s constantly saying something and I’m just laughing, almost falling off my chair!

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Finally, I ask her, “So, tell me your story.” and that’s when she starts.
“If you had met me when I was in school, you would have never imagined that I’d end up being a stand up comedian. I had a typical American movie like school life, with me being bullied for being chubby, me wanting to be friends with the popular girls and lie in the bargain. That was angst number one.”

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I see a strong, confident woman, who’s saying one witty thing after another and I never could have guessed that she was bullied by her peers, growing up. She says her life changed for the better when she left to Chennai for college.
“Those were the best years of my life. I left behind my forgettable school life and embraced the fun times of college, hostel and made friends for life. My faith in girls being friends with other girls was restored!”

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That was where she first discovered theatre and the stage. She went on to meet her now mentor, then theatre director, V. Balakrishnan of Theatre Nisha,she fondly remembers. She credits him for recognising the “comedian” in her. She simply laughed it off and had no idea that would be her identity, couple of years down the line.
“I moved to Bangalore, worked as a librarian (dont ask!) as a chef (not so bad actually) and then in Food Testing Laboratories. Life was not so bad. Then came the horrible breakup and heartbreak where you think the world has come to an end. This was Angst number two.”
To me, she’s a bundle of surprises, revealing one detail after another which just leaves me awestruck.
To nurse her broken heart, she wanted to distract herself and found solace in theatre again. Having no prior knowledge of improvisational comedy she still tried out for The Improv, where she claims she “fared okay”. With time she became better and after that, there was no looking back for Sumukhi. She bagged numerous roles in YouTube videos, started writing her own sketch comedies with Richa Kapoor, whom she calls her “partner in crime” and also wrote her second sketch show “Go Straight Take Left” with Naveen Richard.

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Her growth in the world of comedy made her rethink things. She finally gave comedy a serious thought. She wanted to take it up full time. She says, “Last year I started Stand up comedy and that’s when I knew I wanted to pursue Comedy. Atleast give myself a chance to succeed or fail in it. I quit my job in November 2015 and since then I have been a full time comedian. Its scary, I am nervous all the time, but it has been a wonderful challenge so far!”.

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So, this is the story of Sumukhi Suresh. A lively, entertaining, comical woman, who’s climbing her way to the top of the comedy circuit. She translated all her insecurities into comedy. Body shaming, having rebelled against bullies, she now stands as an inspiration, teaching women that your looks don’t matter at all. Love yourself for all that you are: Skinny. Chubby. Tall. Short. Straight hair. Curly hair. Big breasted. Flat chested. Love yourself and find what you’re here for, because your body doesn’t define you, your deeds do. She still gets a lot of “OMG! You are a woman and you can make people laugh?”. Humor has no barriers and Sumukhi is changing perceptions. Find your purpose. Let the naysayers critic you. Let your work prove them wrong.

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Dear Sumukhi,

Break more stereotypes, tickle more funny bones, keep spreading the cheer! It was an absolute pleasure having you on #VoonikBeARebel.

Love,
Voonik

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