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State of art

After the shows of comedians Munawar Faruqui and Kunal Kamra were forcibly cancelled, City Express speaks to artistes who worry and wonder about their creativity being curbed 

Published: 04th December 2021 06:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2021 06:48 AM   |  A+A-

Illustration: soumyadip sinha

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:

Arundhati Raja, theatre personality

The organisation that stopped Munawar Faruqui’s standup comedy event is the same that actually stopped our theatre play, Shiva, in 2018. The problem in both the cases is that the police will not give any kind of protection to the venue. However, the common thing remains that these organisations are putting a full stop to our creativity and we are giving into it. There is nothing that artistes can do. Moreover, we as Indians, are not people who can easily laugh at ourselves. This factor is very hard to change in a country where religion and culture are deeply ingrained. 

Raghava KK, artist  

When I used to work on cartoons for a company, I remember being told that it’s not going to work. There were so many political narratives around it. But humour is the only tool that works. It’s the tool for growth. Unfortunately, there are limitations that artistes have to work around. It’s important that one should not censor art, but critic it and talk about the lack of finesse. We need a mature society. If India loses comedy, we’ll lose the ability to laugh at ourselves, change, grow and shift.

Arundathi Nag, theatre practitioner 

In order for a community to grow, many people have to take a stand and speak up. Right now, there are voices being raised and questions being asked, but they are not loud enough. Certain instances that are happening around us have ripple effects. 

KM Chaitanya,  film director 

The shows of these comedians being cancelled in Bengaluru is the start of a new repressive era for artistes in India. I come from a theatre background that represents different ideological and belief systems. A society that cannot laugh at itself has lost the ability to be introspective, which is a worrying trend. It is absurd and unfortunate that police who are supposed to take action against fringe groups threatening to create violence are actually acting against the organisers of the show. 

Shankar Chugani , standup comedian 

I did feel a pinch when Kunal Kamra and Munawar Faruqui’s shows were cancelled in Bengaluru. It is a worrisome trend for local comedians, for whom getting an opportunity on the stage to perform and express themselves is a big deal. When popular comedians face such setbacks, it affects the local artistes who cannot go that extra mile to make people laugh. Standup comedy is a profession for artistes and if this is curtailed, then it is almost equal to jeopardising their livelihoods.

Shan Re, artist 
Artistic expression should not have limitations in an ideal world, but I believe that freedom comes with responsibility. No matter what kind of creative project we are discussing, some kind of guidelines and boundaries are necessary and it is very important to manage it well.



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