Comedian Kunal Kamra, who was canceled under threats from right-wing groups later this month, told NDTV in an exclusive interview today that the Brotherhood of entertainers works in fear — “it’s a nuisance to anyone.” No art form is good.”
He made no mention of the boycott of many movies and actors, saying: “Everyone from Bollywood to comedians…everyone operates in some fear. They just let good ideas (go)…anything artistic. The spontaneous form has been completely killed.”
Right-wing groups have protested several films over the past few months, most recently Brahmastra starring Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhat. Right-wing groups protested an interview with Ranbir Kapoor, 11, who admitted he liked beef.
Mr Kamra’s gig at the Studio Xo bar in Gurgaon, near Delhi, was cancelled after right-wing groups threatened to stage a protest, who claimed his jokes were “insulting (to) Hindu gods”.
Two weeks ago, comedian Munawal Farooji’s performance in Delhi was also cancelled after a similar situation was denied by the police.
Mr Kamra, who describes himself as a devout Hindu and challenged right-wing leaders to say “Godse Murdabad”, questioned whether right-wing groups had replaced the judiciary, which could only declare whether anything was “insulting”.
He said it was a matter of “emotion” that right-wing groups were “offended”.
“Our constitution clearly mentions what is freedom of speech, what is religious prejudice, what is incitement to violence. There is a court to decide. Let them decide if it is anti-Hindu,” he said.
“Sadly, the authorities, the police, the police chief, they are following the instructions of whoever Nathuram Godse wants,” he later added.
Mr Kamra, known for his jokes on political and social issues, asked right-wing groups to discuss what they found offensive in his jokes.
In an open letter over the weekend, he wrote, “If there is such a clip, show it to me too. I’m just laughing at the government. If you are a lackey of the government, it makes sense for your feelings to be hurt. How are Hindus? See?” Religious figures here? “
He emphasized in the interview, “As far as I know, I haven’t said anything anti-Hindu, and if I said something, they should go back and discuss it instead of labeling me. That’s why I told them — ‘Why don’t you Tell me what I’m saying is anti-Hindu and I’ll respond to that.”
On his show, Mr Kamra often makes fun of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties. A vocal supporter of recent protests against the government, he also faces a police case.