Deepika challenges the inequality faced by maids all over the country and now wants to do comedy shows for the rest of her life.
Talent and destiny can team up to spring some sharp surprises. Deepika Mhatre, who worked for years as a househelp, is now enjoying stardom and praise for her new career as a comedian.
Life’s taken a surprising turn for Deepika Mhatre, who’s gone from cleaning houses to gaining comedy stardom. She challenges the inequality faced by maids all over the country and now wants to do comedy shows for the rest of her life.
Talking about how her journey to becoming a comedian began, she replies saying, “Last year, in the building where I worked, a lady arranged a programme for Women’s Day for all the maids. We celebrated and every maid performed by either singing or dancing. I chose comedy and it my act turned out quite well. A newspaper reporter present there really liked my comedy. She spoke to comedian Aditi Mittal and told her to give me a chance as a comedian as she felt I would go a long way in this field. Aditi Mittal came to the building where I worked earlier. They convinced me that I have a lot of talent and if I chose to be a comedian I would gain much recognition. They found me sensible and smart, and felt I should give it an earnest shot. I was extremely hesitant and told them that I am a maid and haven’t ever practiced this and won’t be able to do it. In the end they managed to finally convince me. So the next day they called me home and took my audition.”
This was the beginning of a new vertical in her life. Mhatre is now on a steady journey with a vision.
Extremely excited she reveals, “They started taking me everywhere after that for stage performances and I started making a name for myself. I crack jokes about the lady of the house or ‘madams’, about my husband and relatives etc. Also, whatever I saw in front of me I started cracking jokes on that. I try to translate my jokes but I can’t speak good English. The madams of the house don’t care about us, keep separate dishes for our use, have a dominating attitude and also don’t speak to us politely. I have incorporated all this in my comedy. I like comedy much more than working as a maid as I get a good response and feel happy to get all this attention.”
She loves it when the audience appreciates her jokes and when after the show ladies come up to her and hug her and praise her work as a comedian. “Life was different before. I used to wake up at 4-4.30 am and sell jewellery in the local trains. I would switch trains till 6-6.30 am and then I would go and work in the houses. Now I am focussing only on comedy. I want to make a name for myself and dedicate my future to comedy.”
She is grappling with financial problems but is confident that her talent and hard work will help solve the problems.
"Hopefully things will get better as I am getting offers from some channels and shows, and to perform in award functions. Also, I have been selected for comedy by a reality television show, which will start next month. I am hoping to get some good offers and will grab them as they come. I have done a show which will be aired after a week on television. My financial situation has worsened as I left my previous jobs. I live in a rented house and the money I make from selling jewellery is what is running my house. I have three sons and my husband suffers from asthma. I have taken several loans which I need to repay. Hopefully my new career as a comedian will solve my financial problems,” she adds.
On a conclusive note Deepika says, “Maids are not treated well in India even though we are always there for our employers. Equality needs to be practiced. We are God’s children too and deserve to be treated equally. Our entire life goes in working in people’s houses, so we definitely deserve respect.”