Sonu Nigam defended his performance mid-air on Friday even as Jet Airways grounded five crew members for allowing the Bollywood singer to perform over the in-flight announcement system. The airline decision also prompted a social media backlash.
The temporary suspension of the crew comes after a video showing singer Sonu Nigam’s impromptu performance last month went viral, prompting an investigation by authorities.
“This act lack of common sense according to me is real intolerance,” Nigam told NDTV, “I have witnessed an elaborate fashion show in an aircraft... I have seen pilots and crew members cracking humorous jokes to loosen up passengers in other countries which is so cool,” he said.
The singer added, “To suspend crew members for asking me to sing on the address system, when the seat belt signs were off, and no announcements were to be made, is nothing less than punishing someone for spreading happiness.”
The video showed the celebrity singer crooning to chart-topping Bollywood songs with other passengers joining in on a chartered flight from the western city of Jodhpur to Mumbai on January 4. Following its probe, government officials asked the airline to take action against the cabin crew for violating regulations and misusing the in-flight announcement system.
“All cabin crew on the flight have been taken off from flight duty for enquiry and corrective training to reinforce strict adherence to operating procedures,” a Jet Airways spokesman said in a statement.
The crew’s suspension was trending in India on Friday with Twitter users lashing out at the authorities for suspending the crew.
Airhostess Sonu Nigam: "Bangalore me apka swagat hai. Iss waqt bahar ka tapmaan 18º celcius hai kyunki suraj hua maddhamm chand jalne laga."— Akshar (@AksharPathak) February 5, 2016
“Never knew Sonu Nigam would be such a bad music to ears of Jet Airways. Suspending 5 lovely ladies for good sense of music.. Seriously??,” user Yashwant Deshmukh tweeted.
Airhostess Sonu Nigam: "Cabin me hawa ke dabaav me kami hone par mere haath mein, tera haath ho. Saari jannatein, tere saath ho."— Akshar (@AksharPathak) February 5, 2016
“Wah! He made the passengers smile.. and jet airways suspended the crew.. great!! Get well soon Jet Airways,” tweeted Sana Sheikh.
Airhostess Sonu Nigam: "Tray table bandh kar lein. Kursi ki peti baandh lein. Toilet jaane nahi denge tujhe. Jaane tujhe, denge nahi."— Akshar (@AksharPathak) February 5, 2016
However, many netizens supported the carrier’s decision, saying such actions could jeopardise flight safety.
Airhostess Sonu Nigam: "Jet Airways par aapka swagat hai. Main is vimaan ki mukhya karmacharika hu ab mujhe raat din tumhara hi khayal hai"— Akshar (@AksharPathak) February 5, 2016
“I’m glad @jetairways has suspended [its] crew for allowing Sonu Nigam to ‘misuse’ the announcement system. It is unacceptable & dangerous,” tweeted Tehseen Poonawalla. Others, meanwhile, had plenty of smart quips to share.
First we had bathroom singers, now music is in the air. #SonuNigam— rishika kaushal (@rishikakaushal) February 5, 2016
My mom always said "pay attention to ur job than songs" now I know wat she meant. #SonuNigam— Rishi (@rishibhoi) February 5, 2016
I'm glad @jetairways has suspended it's crew for allowing Sonu Nigam to 'misuse' the announcement system. It is unacceptable & Dangerous— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) February 5, 2016
(With inputs from AFP)