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'Hard-Hitting': Comedians Speak on Vir Das's 'I Come From Two Indias'

At least two police complaints have been filed against Das for “derogatory statements against India”.

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What can a comedian in India joke about that is acceptable to the audience and the public? The debate on this has been stirred time and again and was sparked once again on Tuesday, 16 November.

Stand-up comedian Vir Das has been caught in a storm of applause and criticism on his recent stand-up video recorded at Washington DC's John F Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts titled "I Come From Two Indias"

In a six-minute video, Vir Das talks about the duality of India and speaks on topical issues the country is facing from the pandemic to the farmers' protests, and targeted attacks towards comedians as well.

While many on social media have said that India can’t take criticism and applauded Das for his candid words, the other side has condemned the comedian for generalising incidents and projecting a negative image about India abroad.

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The negative comments and hate speech regarding his monologue reached such an extent that at least two police complaints have been filed against Das for “derogatory statements against India”.

In a clarification, Das on Twitter stated that his intention was to remind people that despite the issues, India is “great” and requested people to not be fooled by edited snippets.

But the bigger question here is, was Das wrong in saying what he did about India? If he was, do comedians need to start self-censoring before they bring their material out? What do comedians feel about this?

We took these questions to stand-up comedians Neeti Palta, Sanjay Rajoura, and Agrima Joshua.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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