Aditi Mittal is in the minority as a female Indian stand up comic. In her latest set, she is fierce, confident and vocal. She’s back at the Fringe after two years and she does begin by addressing a familiar theme – a daughter’s urge to gain her mother’s approval. Women in the audience are nodding and chuckling away – they’ve all been there. But Mittal has recently won an award for her stand up, surely that would attain maternal approval, right? But it is not that straightforward, as she hilariously unpacks it for the audience.
Mittal is brazen and unapologetic, and as a modern Indian woman this clearly gets her into all sorts of trouble. Her repertoire of topics is large – insults she’s faced, what her Mum’s like (it’s not what you’d expect) and, of course, how she ended up on the wrong side of law. Mittal’s content is intelligent – she weaves through politics, religion and the developmental psychology of children seamlessly. Of note as well is Mittal’s attitude to patriarchy and masculinity, and her utter disdain for conceited, powerful men. When the #MeToo movement broke in India and split the still-young comedy industry in two, Mittal was one of the most powerful and outspoken voices standing up for women. Of course, she has factored this into her comedy. And the result is humour that universally appeals, to Indians and non-Indians in the audience alike.
There are jokes and punchlines from previous sets, though, so there seems to be some repetition. Also, there are a couple of storylines which end abruptly, and don’t quite elicit guffaws from the audience. Apart from these misfires, Mittal delivers an entertaining hour, and with her venue at a great location, she is sure to be drawing crowds at this year’s Fringe.