Rumor has it that the world-renowned director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair, The Namesake), was in Bombay, stuck in traffic on Marine Drive and in the midst of a movie-maker’s equivalent of writer’s block when she discovered the source of traffic was hundreds of women dressed in all white crossing the street. She was so intrigued, that she ditched her cab and followed these women with her DV camera- some time later, The Laughing Club of India was born.
In this compassionate and entertaining documentary, award-winning director Mira Nair has captured a unique slice of life in contemporary India…the Laughing Clubs. From shop workers laughing to relieve stress, to widows cackling to forget their grief and children gleefully giggling with their teachers; The Laughing Club of India documents the thousands of people who come together foregoing their caste or class, to laugh for 40 minutes and to belong to a community dedicated to creating more joy in the world.
This delightful film explores the power of laughter through the popular phenomenon of laughing clubs founded by Madran Kataria, a jovial, energetic, laughter-loving Bombay cardiologist. Dr. Kataria’s passion for bringing the healing power of laughter to the world comes from a deep belief that laughing daily is the key to happiness and well-being. In the early days Dr. Kataria would begin club meetings with jokes to get people laughing but he soon discovered that by just pretending to laugh or simulating laughter, real laughter would soon follow. He invented several different kinds of laughs: the Greeter, Milkshake and Lion. You have to see them to get the full comic effect.
More than 1300 Laughter Clubs now exist throughout the world. The Laughing Clubs meet in parks, offices, private homes, community centers and rooftops, just about anywhere. Throughout the film we get up close and personal with club participants including Dr. & Mrs. Kataria, a stockbroker, three bawdy women, a musician, a widow laughing to cope with grief, and two old men-friends since school days who meet daily to laugh.
The healing power of laughter has been well documented and has been show to boost the immune system. The Laughing Club of India will not only make you laugh till you cry and double over in stitches, but will inspire you to make laughing a daily practice.