After receiving critical praise at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and standing ovations at Centrestage, NCPA’s annual festival last year, Chennai-based theatre group Evam’s political play, Ali J was to be performed at the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2014 (KGAF).
"Two days ago, the representatives of a fundamentalist group, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) lodged a complaint at the Colaba Police Station, urging for the cancellation of the performance. They argued that the performance may lead to communal protests," says play director and actor Karthik Kumar. He adds, "The police accepted their plea and requested the KGAF organisers to call off the performance."
However, Kumar hasn’t lost heart. "Though our performance has been stopped, we will upload a video of the entire performance on YouTube so that many people, and not just a small crowd, can enjoy the show. People across the world can now realise that we are only trying to propagate a secular message," he adds.
"I empathise with the festival officials’ decision, but by complying with the police’s request, I think they are sending out a dangerous message to the artiste fraternity — that an artiste’s freedom can be curbed with mere threats."
You can watch the video on www.facebook.com/evamentertainment for free.