After Munawar Faruqui, stand-up comic Kunal Kamra says all shows in Bengaluru cancelled

“I suppose I am seen as a variant of the virus now,” Kamra wrote in a tweet, adding a word about Munawar Faruqui, another stand-up artist who was forced to “quit” his career after all 12 of his shows in the past two months were cancelled.
Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra (File Photo)
Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra (File Photo)
Published on Dec 01, 2021 04:22 PM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra on Wednesday said that all his shows in Bengaluru, which were scheduled over the next 20 days, have been cancelled. Kamra gave two reasons behind why the shows have been scrapped, one of which included him receiving threats to shut down the venue if he were to ever perform there. “I suppose I am seen as a variant of the virus now,” the comedian said sarcastically in a tweet, adding a word about Munawar Faruqui, another stand-up artist who was recently faced with a similar fate, wherein all 12 of his shows in the past two months – the latest of which was a Bengaluru event – were cancelled because of threats.

In a post captioned “Cancelling comedy shows 101”, stand-up artist Kunal Kamra wrote, “They [the shows] have been cancelled for two reasons. Firstly, we didn't get special permissions to seat 45 people in the venue that can seat more. Secondly, threats have been made to shut down the venue if I were to ever perform there. I guess this is also part of the Covid protocol & new guidelines. I suppose I am seen as a variant of the virus now.”

Taking note of what his fellow stand-up compatriot Munawar Faruqui had to go through earlier, Kamra wrote with a hint of morbid sarcasm, “For those on Twitter that have been wondering how ‘A Kamra goes on to perform while a Farooqui has had to quit comedy’ we can find solace in the fact that the ruling class is at least trying to oppress with equality.”

He added, “Maybe if we continue down the road of equal oppression, we would get to a point of equal liberation, in a post-climate change era.”

For the uninitiated, comedian Munawar Faruqui had on Sunday posted a statement on Instagram, styled like an open mic, which ended with him signing off perhaps for the last time, as he wrote, “This is the end. Good bye! I am done.”

“Hatred won and the artist lost”, the comedian had said, recounting how his 12 shows have been cancelled in the last two months because of threats. Notably, the Bengaluru police, too, have confirmed that permission had been denied as “Munawar Faruqui” is a controversial figure.

“It is learnt that Munawar Faruqui is a controversial figure...Many states have banned his comedy shows. It is learnt that a case has been registered against him in the Tukoji police station in Indore of Madhya Pradesh,” the inspector of the Ashokanagar Police station had said in a letter.

This is not the first that abrasive humour from Indian stand-up comics has made waves in the backdrop of the political situation in the country. Kamra, whose comedy acts often target the current government, is no stranger to threats and curbs imposed on him. Last year, he was banned by a number of airlines, including IndiGo and the government-owned Air India, after confronting a popular news anchor aboard an aircraft. The comedian, however, later issued a legal notice to IndiGo against the travel ban demanding a compensation of 25 lakh.

Earlier this month, actor-comedian Vir Das also received backlash for his international show, Two Indias, which described two contrasting faces of the country and referred to many controversial topics. Although the Netflix comedy special was severely criticised back home, it later received an official nomination in the Comedy category at the 49th International Emmy Awards.

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