Actor Kiku Sharda said on Thursday he was scared by his arrest a day before for allegedly mimicking controversial religious leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh but insisted that the ordeal wouldn’t affect his work.
In an interview to HT, the comedian – best known for his role as Palak in the popular TV show Comedy Nights with Kapil -- said he was overwhelmed by the support from the film-television industry and that the arrest wouldn’t make him “cautious”.
“I want to do clean comedy and make kids laugh. I am not going to be on the back foot,” he told HT.
But the actor appeared upset over lack of support from the channel that carried the controversial episode.
“Every channel has a team that vets any objectionable content, and they should have been careful. There was a huge team on the show and anyone could have pointed out that the act might get an adverse reaction,” he told HT.
Sharda returned to Mumbai after a 24-hour-long ordeal when he was taken to Haryana, where followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect – headed by Singh – had filed complaints that he had hurt religious sentiments.
“It was frightening, traveling out of town to a place that is unknown to you with people you don’t know. It really was a scary and tough time,” he said.
Soon after his arrest, the 40-year-old actor apologised, saying he never intended to hurt anyone’s feeling. Singh too tweeted hours later, accepting the apology. Sharda was released on bail later on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh.
“What happened wasn’t nice. I was ignorant about Gurmeet Ram Rahim and his well-wishers, and my act was unintentional. Had I known, I wouldn’t have done it or I would have been more careful,” he said.
“My wife and parents were quite worried. My younger brother, Sudarshan Sharda, and my co-star, Chandan Prabhakar, travelled with me. It was a huge deal to have your people with you in such trying times.”
Flooded with messages of support from top actors and performers, the comedian said he was overwhelmed and thankful to everyone, including the industry and the media.
“I am thankful for the support I got from Kapil Sharma (actor), Navjot Singh Sidhu (former cricketer) and the team of our TV show.” He said.
The actor also thanked Haryana Police for being “supportive”. He said the police knew “there would be a huge crowd outside the court,” so they ensured his safe exit through an angry crowd.
“When I came out of the court [after getting bail], there was a huge uproar and the crowd pushed us. Getting out of there was another scary ordeal,” Sharda said.
Sharda admitted he didn’t expect such a turn of events when he first heard about the FIR. He read reports about a case, but said he “never got a copy of the FIR or any summons or a text”. Had he known, he “would have got anticipatory bail”.
“I thought some supporters were saying that a case had been filed against me just to scare me,” he explained.