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‘Artistes in Fear’: Comedian Kunal Kamra on a canceled show

20220925 153018
20220925 153018



Kunal Kamra said right-wing groups were being “humiliated” as a matter of “emotion”.

New Delhi:

Comedian Kunal Kamra, whose show was canceled later this month after threats from right-wing groups, told NDTV in an exclusive interview today that the artist fraternity is operating under fear — “which doesn’t suit any art form.”

Without noting the rush of boycotts on a number of films and actors, he said, “Everyone from Bollywood to comedians…everyone works in fear. They let the good ideas (go)…the spontaneity of any art has killed the whole form.”

Over the past months, right-wing groups have staged protests over several films, the latest being Ranbir Kapoor’s Alia Bhatt Brahmastra. Right-wing groups have staged protests over an 11-year-old interview with Ranbir Kapoor in which he admitted his fondness for beef.

Kamra’s shows at Studio Xo Bar in Gurgaon near Delhi – scheduled for September 17 and 18 – were canceled after right-wing organizations threatened protests, claiming his jokes were “insulting (to Hindu deities)”.

Two weeks ago, comedian Munwar Faruki’s shows in Delhi were also canceled under similar circumstances after the police refused permission to do so.

Mr Kamra, who declared himself a devout Hindu and challenged right-wing leaders to say “Godsi Mordabad”, questioned whether right-wing organizations had replaced the judiciary, who could only announce whether any content was “offensive”.

He said right-wing groups were being “humiliated” as a matter of “emotion”.

“There are clear references in our constitution about what amounts to freedom of expression, what amounts to religious intolerance and what amounts to incitement to violence. There is a court to decide. Let them decide whether this is anti-Hindu,” he said.

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He later added, “The sad thing is that the authorities, the police and the police commissioner are following the directions of the people Naturam Godse wants.”

Kamra, who is known for his jokes on political and social issues, demanded that right-wing groups come and discuss what they found offensive in his jokes.

In an open letter over the weekend, he wrote, “If there is any such passage, show it to me as well. I am only mocking the government. If you are subservient to the government, hurting your feelings makes sense. How do Hindus do religion number here?”

Emphasizing this in the interview, he said, “As far as I know, I said nothing against Hindus, and if I said something, they should have come back to discuss rather than protect me. That’s why I told them—”Why don’t you tell me what you said is anti-Hindu and I will respond to that thing? “.

Kamra has often ridiculed in his performances Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, as well as other political parties. He is an outspoken supporter of the recent protests against the government, and is also facing police cases.

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