“Sending a comedian off to cover the wackier side of Indian culture could have been a disaster, but Paul Merton’s travelogue is very funny.” Guardian
Imagine how a pasty, panama-wearing Brit blends into the crowds and culture of Delhi and Rajasthan. Picture him dining with convicted criminals in a high security prison in Hyderabad and hanging out with a gang of eunuchs in the Punjab. Or meeting India’s world record holders in Mumbai (including a man who attempts to smash three records in just one hour – using some string, a frisbee and a skipping rope), and getting swamped by thousands of naked holy men at a remote hilltop festival in Delhi. Hard to imagine? Some things just have to be seen to be believed; PAUL MERTON IN INDIA presents a wonderfully idiosyncratic perspective on a land of startling contrasts in this five-part series. Premiering Saturday, November 14 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT exclusively on Discovery HD, Merton wanders off the typical tourist trails on a personal odyssey where a delicate balance of heart and humour exposes an unfamiliar side of India.
Never has a country and presenter been better matched. As a surreal and intense journey gets underway from crowded city streets to the harsh beauty of rural India, PAUL MERTON IN INDIA journeys right into the heart of a country where anything can happen…and usually does.
Merton visits a temple in Rajasthan devoted to rats, where the revered rodents swarm through the corridors and sip en masse from specially laid out bowls of milk. He attends a festival in Gujarat celebrating the god Shiva and watches naked, ash-covered sadhus suspend boulders from their genitals. Then stumbling upon the beach in Chennai, he watches a group of men and women practice the art of laughter yoga – proving hard for a professional comedian such as Merton to endorse!
Part comedy, part social documentary and completely entertaining, PAUL MERTON IN INDIA discovers a picaresque collection of oddballs and eccentricities you won’t find in any travel brochure. Revealing what makes this emerging superpower so unique, Merton shuns the traditional tourist spots in favour of unexpected sights and surprising detours.
Paul Merton is a multi-award-winning comedian and novelist. His critically acclaimed previous travelogue on China received a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) nomination for Best Factual Series.