No Laughter Challenge: Vir Das Show Cancelled In Bangalore; Case Filed In Mumbai For Copyright Violation

Earlier, several comic shows of stand-up comedians like Kunal Kamra and Munawar Farooqi had been cancelled in Bangalore following the complaints by Hindu right wing groups.

Stand up comedian Vir Das

Comedian Vir Das again found him steeped into controversy as the Mumbai Police today filed an FIR against the stand-up comedian for alleged violation of Copyright Act.

As per the reports, the police filed the FIR on the basis of the complaint filed by renowned theatre producer Ashvin Gidwani. The FIR has two other names along with the OTT platform Netflix.

Gidwani in his complaint said that his company had signed a contract with Das on October, 2010 to produce a show. However, in January, 2020, while watching promo of a show of Das, the theatre producer found that the most of its parts are copied from his show, the official from Cuffe Parade police station told PTI.

Accordingly, the police lodged the FIR on November 4. However, no arrest has been made yet and the investigation is underway.

Under section 63 of Copyright Act, 1957 that has been amended several times, latest in 2012, one can be imprisoned for not less than six months extending up to three years.

This is the second time in last two days, Vir Das’ name mopped up in the news.

Vir Das show cancelled in Bangalore

The right-wing Hindu group 'Hindu Janajagruti Samiti' yesterday in Bangalore approached the police and asked them to cancel the comedian’s show as that might hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

They also filed a complaint against Vir Das at Vyalikaval police station. In a statement Mohan Gowda, state spokesperson of the right organ said, “It has been noticed that the controversial comedian Vir Das is holding a comedy show on November 10 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Malleshwaram, Bengaluru. Earlier, he had made derogatory statements against women, our Prime Minister and India at John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC, America, and denigrated the nation.”

Vir Das and ‘Two India controversy’

Last year, Das courted controversy with one of the videos, commonly known as ‘two India’ went viral in social media. In this show at Washington DC, Das upheld the irony of two India- one of the poor, other of the rich. Apart from class, he also spoke about prevalent contrasts in Indian society.

Referring to a quote from his earlier speech that says “In India, we worship women in the day and rape them at night”, the Hindu right organisation said it was a serious offence under Indian penal code and for that Mumbai Police even lodged a case against him.

The statement also said that Bengaluru is a ‘communally sensitive area’ and in this context letting this programme happen may bring troubles.

“When Karnataka is already facing many law and order problems due to communal incidents, such events which could vitiate the law and order should not be allowed. We demand that this programme should be cancelled immediately,” the statement added.

Bangalore becoming a city of No to Stand-ups?

Interestingly, Bangalore has become a city where the major casualty of the communal hatred is the stand-up comedians.

In September another stand-up comedian Atul Khatri couldn’t perform as the police denied giving no objection certificate. Though the police cited “late, incomplete application” for cancelling the show, it was quite evident that Khatri’s content became the major point of contention.

The show of renowned comedian Munawar Farooqi who got arrested for hurting religious sentiment and later got bail was cancelled last year almost on the same grounds that it might provoke Hindus. Some right-wing organisations also filed complaint against Farooqi’s show.

Comedian Kunal Kamra who has been a sharp critique of Modi government couldn’t perform in Bangalore as well. While cancelling the show the organisers cited two reasons to Kunal- first, they couldn’t get the permission of arranging 45 peoples’ sitting at a place where the capacity is much more; and second, threats were there to shut down the venue itself.