Comedian Kunal Kamra, whose show later this month got cancelled after threats from right wing groups, told NDTV in an exclusive interview today that the artiste fraternity is working under fear — “which is never good for any art form”.
Without citing the rush of boycotts on a number of movies and actors, he said, “Everybody from Bollywood to comedians… everybody is operating in some fear. They are just letting good ideas (go)… the spontaneity that any art form has is totally killed”.
Over the last months, right-wing groups have held protests over many movies, the latest of which is Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer Brahmastra. The right-wing groups held protests over an 11-year-old interview of Ranbir Kapoor where he admitted to his fondness for beef.
Mr Kamra’s shows at the Studio Xo Bar in Gurgaon near Delhi — scheduled for September 17 and 18 — were cancelled after the right-wing organisations threatened to hold protests, alleging that his jokes were “insulting (to) Hindu gods”.
Two weeks ago, comedian Munawar Faruqui’s shows in Delhi were cancelled too in similar circumstances after the police denied permission for it.
Mr Kamra, who declared that he was a devout Hindu and challenged right-wing leaders to say “Godse Murdabad”, questioned if the right-wing organisations have replaced the judiciary, which only can declare if any content is “insulting”.
That the right-wing groups were “offended” is a matter of “emotion”, he said.
“There are clear cut mentions in our Constitution on what amounts to free speech, what amounts to religious bigotry and what amounts to inciting violence. There is a court to decide. Let them decide if this is anti-Hindu,” he said.
“The sad part is that the authorities, the police, the Commissioner of Police, they are following the directives of people whom Nathuram Godse wants,” he later added.
Mr Kamra, who is known for his jokes on political and social issues, has demanded that the right-wing groups come and discuss what they found offensive about his jokes.
In an open letter over the weekend, he wrote, “If there is any such clip, show it to me too. I only mock the government. If you are a government lackey, then your feelings getting hurt makes sense. How does the Hindu religion figure here?”
Underscoring it in the interview, he said, “As far as I know, I have not said anything anti-Hindu and if I have said something, they should have got back for a discussion instead of labelling me. That’s why I told them – ‘why don’t you tell me what I have said is anti-Hindu and I’ll respond on that thing”.
In his shows, Mr Kamra has often poked fun at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, as well as other political parties. A vocal supporter of recent protests against the government, he is also facing police cases.