Kamra is the second comedian to have his show cancelled in Bengaluru in the past five days due to threats made to the venue, after Munawar Faruqui.

Comedian Kunal KamraFacebook
news Controversy Wednesday, December 01, 2021 - 15:15

Comedian Kunal Kamra has announced that his shows in Bengaluru scheduled over the next 20 days have been cancelled due to threats to shut down the venue, as well as over denial of special seating permissions. Kamra was set to perform a show titled ‘Kunal Kamra Live’ at a venue in Bengaluru’s JP Nagar on multiple days between December 1 and 19. Sources close to the comedian said that while his shows had been cancelled for similar reasons in other states, this was the first time that a show was cancelled in Bengaluru. 

Kamra is the second comedian to have his show cancelled in Bengaluru in the past five days, after Gujarat-based Munawar Faruqui. According to sources, the JP Nagar Police Station in Bengaluru had summoned the proprietors of Art Khoj, the venue where Kamra’s show was to be held. Meanwhile, a few people gathered outside the venue on November 30, and objected to the show. Sources told TNM that a police van reached the venue at this time and dispersed the crowd. Sources say that the police then had a meeting with Art Khoj at the police station, and asked them to give in writing that the show is being cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, Kunal Kamra in his social media post has alleged that it was only over the threats. Sources also said that the police asked the venue not to hold any events till December 31.

On December 1, Kamra was informed by the venue that his show has been cancelled. When Munawar’s show was cancelled, the police had drawn a lot of flak for their written communication to Good Shepherd Auditorium in Bengaluru, advising them to cancel the show as Munawar is a controversial figure who could make provocative statements. In Kunal Kamra’s case, however, the police have not given any objection in writing. When TNM called the JP Nagar police station, they denied any such direction to Art Khoj. 

Kamra took to social media to share that his shows in Bengaluru 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-19 protocol and new guidelines. I suppose I am seen as a variant of the virus now.” 

Comparing his situation to Munawar’s, Kamra claimed they were both being silenced in similar ways. “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 wrote. 

Responding to the cancellation of Munawar’s show, Kamra had earlier shared a note which said, “With every passing year I feel laughter is costing comedians more & more. It's costing them their spontaneity and it's costing them their impulse.” 

Art Khoj, the venue in Bengaluru’s JP Nagar confirmed to TNM that Kamra’s shows have been cancelled but refrained from offering any further comments on whether they received any notice  or direction from the police not to hold the shows. 

Kamra is currently facing contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court, for his tweets on the apex court and former Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde.  

Read: To say my tweets shake SC’s foundation is over-estimation of my abilities: Kamra to SC

Earlier this week, Munawar Faruqui’s show which was to be held on Sunday was cancelled after the police advised the organisers not to hold the show as there were threats on social media from right wing groups. However, earlier, it had allowed Munawar to perform his show ‘From Dongri to Nowhere’ thrice this year in Bengaluru. Yet, his show on November 28 was cancelled, the latest in a series of cancellations after he was arrested in January by the Indore police based on a complaint by a BJP MLA’s son that the jokes that “he was going to crack” at a show would be offensive. After the Bengaluru police asked the venue manager to cancel his show, Munawar shared an emotional note indicating that he might have to quit his comedy career. 

Also read: Munawar performed the same set in Bengaluru thrice before: What got the cops this time?

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