Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Monday said he had decided not to fly with IndiGo airlines to express solidarity with comedian Kunal Kamra, who was banned last week by the budget carrier for six months for heckling journalist Arnab Goswami one of its flights. Subsequently, three other airlines – Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir – put Kamra on the no-fly list until further notice following a tweet by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
Kashyap, who was on his way to a film festival in Kolkata, landed in the city seven hours early, and later told The Telegraph he did so because he did not want to fly IndiGo. “I was booked on IndiGo by the organisers to come to Dum Dum,” Kashyap told the newspaper. “After Kamra was banned, I told the organisers I will not fly IndiGo. I told them I will not fly this airline because I thought the ban was very unreasonable.”
The director took a Vistara airlines flight to the city.
The filmmaker admitted that there was not much he could do about Kamra’s ban, but said he wanted to register his dissent. “The IndiGo flight was on Monday afternoon and the Vistara flight was in the morning,” Kashyap said. “They [organisers] informed that to fly Vistara, you have to wake up at 4 am. I said, ‘I will wake up at 4 am, but I will not fly IndiGo.’”
The master of ceremonies at the event introduced Kashyap as the person “who humbly declined to fly by IndiGo to show solidarity with Kunal Kamra”. In response, the audience applauded the director.
On Sunday, Kamra too had taken a Vistara flight from Mumbai airport, and tweeted about his journey.
Kashyap told The Telegraph that the airline companies that banned Kamra had bowed before the government. “The thing is: one minister says Kunal Kamra won’t be allowed to fly Air India and requests other airlines to follow suit,” he said. “Airlines are trying to appease the government. Imagine, the government is being the bully and everybody is so afraid of the government that they are trying to appease it.” The filmmaker pointed out that the ban on the comedian was imposed without any investigation or consulting the pilots of the Mumbai-Lucknow IndiGo aircraft where the incident had occurred.
Kamra on Saturday sent a legal notice to IndiGo, seeking to have the suspension revoked immediately and asking the airline to tender an unconditional apology through all media platforms. The comedian also sought Rs 25-lakh compensation for the “mental pain and agony” he had suffered, and the losses incurred due to the cancellation of his scheduled events in India and overseas.