Hours ahead of his show in Bengaluru on Thursday, stand-up comedian Vir Das announced that it has been cancelled due to “unavoidable circumstances”.
The development came three days after Hindutva organisation Hindu Janajagruti Samiti filed a complaint with the Bengaluru Police seeking cancellation of the show. The Hindutva body alleged that the show would hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus and show “India in bad light to the world”.
The Hindutva body had filed a complaint against Das at the Vyalikaval police station, stating “it is not right to allow such a controversial person to hold such a program in a communally sensitive area like Bangalore”.
The comedian, who was set to hold the show at 5.30 pm at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Malleshwaram, on Thursday apologised on Instagram for the inconvenience. “New details and dates soon,” he said.
The organiser of the event, YOSN Innovation, also cited “unavoidable circumstances” for the cancellation of the show.
Mohan Gowda, the spokesperson of the Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi, welcomed the cancellation of the show alleging that Das has insulted India, its women and the Hindu religion.
“Because of an agitation by the Hindu organisations, the show has been cancelled,” he said in a statement. “Wherever such people insult Hinduism in the name of comedy should be boycotted.”
Das releases video
Later, Das released a video saying that a lot of times when a comedy show gets shut down, “people make assumptions about what happens” at the event.
“And nobody ever checks with the audience what happened at the show,” the comedian said. “This is an audience that has just seen a show of mine.”
He then asks his audience, “did we target any specific religion here tonight?”
The audience then says “no” in unison.
“Did we target any specific government or leader here tonight”” Das asks after that. The audience can be heard again saying “no”.
The comedian said he trusts his art and audience to speak for him. “I’m an artist,” he added. “I shouldn’t be on the news. I have no interest in media spectacles or being used for headlines.”
Police complaint against Das
In the complaint to the police on Monday, Gowda claimed that Das had made derogatory remarks about women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “denigrated the nation” during a performance in Washington in November last year.
Gowda added in the complaint that in his performance, Das had said: “In India, we worship women in the day and rape them at night”.
In the 6.53-minute video clip, the comedian had described his version of “two Indias”.
“I come from an India where we laugh so loudly that you can hear us through the walls, and yet...I come from an India where we break down the walls of a comedy club because you can hear laughter inside,” he had said during the performance.
Following the row in November last year, Das had said he would continue to do his job, which is to make people laugh.
“I think laughter is a celebration and when laughter and applause fill up a room...that’s a moment of pride,” he added. “I think that any Indian who has a sense of humour, or understands satire, or watches my entire video, knows that that’s what happened in that room.”