Pioneering British Indian comic dies

January 31st, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 31 (IANS) Sharat Sardana, a pioneering Indian-origin comedy writer who helped revolutionise the perception of Asians in Britain, has died at the age of 40.Sardana, who succumbed to a streptococcal infection Tuesday, created some of the most memorable characters and sketches in British comedy, including those for “Goodness Gracious Me”, the country’s first ever all-Asian comedy show.

He is particularly known for the hilarious “Going for an English” sketch - a reverse take on the Britain’s national obsession with curry meals, highlighted by the common phrase “going for an Indian”.

A sharply-observed sketch that took in everything from social habits to racism, British television viewers have voted it the sixth-funniest comedy sketch of all time. It was co-written by Sardana and his long-time writing partner Richard Pinto.

Indian-born comic actor and writer Sanjeev Bhaskar, who starred in “Goodness Gracious Me”, described Sardana as “a prodigiously gifted comedy writer and producer who helped revolutionise the perception of Asians in Britain”.

“Goodness Gracious Me” characters, including an India-obsessed man - a “Mr Everything Comes From India” - and the Coopers (Kapoors) who refuse to acknowledge their ethnicity, “were all drawn from his acute observations of Britain’s multicultural melting pot and the comic possibilities therein”, Bhaskar said.

Sardana and Pinto later helped develop “The Kumars at Number 42″, a spoof Asian chat-show series that has been copied around the world.

Sardana, who died in hospital surrounded by family and close friends, is survived by his father Om.

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