‘Never thought a stand-up comedy act would be cancelled in our city’

A notice about the show cancellation outside Good Shepherd Auditorium in Bengaluru on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Stand-up comedians in the city expressed outrage and disappointment after they learned that Munawar Faruqui’s show, scheduled to be held on Sunday, was cancelled after the police “advised” organisers to call it off citing possible law and order problems.

“What is happening with Mr. Faruqui is incredibly unfair with his shows being cancelled for a joke that he did not even say. Taking away the right to perform before an audience for a stage artist is incredibly cruel and involves questions of the right to freedom of expression and livelihood,” said Shunky Chugani, a city-based comedian.

Other artistes that The Hindu spoke to also condemned police action and systematic targeting of Mr. Faruqui by the Hindutva right wing, but were wary of making a public statement for fear of being targeted.

“I am from a minority community and I feel like I need to watch every word I utter. I feel extremely vulnerable and targeted,” said a Muslim comedian from Bengaluru.

Others said that such an action will give rise to “self-censorship” in an entertainment space that prides itself on giving the unvarnished truth .

“I never thought something like this would ever happen in our city which is known to have a mature audience and is cosmopolitan and liberal. It makes me very sad. This is a symptom of a much deeper malaise that has set-in, and we need to do something about it,” said comedian Kjeld Sreshth.

Stand-up comedian Ajay Samson said Mr. Faruqui’s social media posts hinting that he would be giving up the space reflected the deep frustration at how he has been hounded.

However, he said quitting was not the right option as that would mean victory to those who have been targeting him.

“If not stage shows, he can perform before a camera. Nobody can stop that. We need to find new ways to keep it alive,” he said.

Proceeds were to go to a charity backed by Puneeth

All 600 tickets for the stand up act, ‘From Dongri to Nowhere’ by comedian Munawar Faruqui had sold out days ago. The proceeds from the show were slated to be donated to an organisation supported by the late Puneeth Rajkumar.

“A month back, my team called the late Puneeth Rajkumar sir’s organisation...We agreed to not sell the show on the name of charity as suggested by the noble organisation,” said Mr. Faruqui on social media.

“We do have a Censor certificate for the show and clearly there is nothing problematic in the show. This show has gained so much love from people in India irrespective of their religion. This is unfair,” he wrote.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 12:35:36 PM |

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