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'India is taking comedy too seriously'

January 15, 2016 09:00 IST

'Comedy is a talent of courage, and that courage will not die anytime soon,' Vir Das promises.

Kiku Sharda

After comedian Kiku Sharda's shocking arrest for mimicking 'godman' Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on a television show, many celebrities have come out in his support.

Vir Das, the stand-up comedian and a close friend of Kiku, is saddened by the arrest.

"It was a bad anomaly," says Vir. "What scares me is how quickly they arrested him (the concerned episode was aired on December 27, and Kiku was arrested on January 13). If you are going to arrest somebody within one week for comedy, please apply the same rules to domestic violence, murder and sexual assault."

"If you are going to function so efficiently as a legal system to arrest a comedian, please do the same for actual crimes."

Vir has known Kiku for a while now. They first met during an audition for Great Indian Comedy Show.

"I have known his work for years. When I first came to Bombay, I auditioned for the Great Indian Comedy Show where Kiku was one of the stars. That's where we met," Vir recalls.

Vir has not had a chance to speak to Kiku after the arrest, but he is willing to go all out to help him.

"Suresh Menon and I are working in Mastizaade," says Vir. "We are trying to help Kiku. He has got his family around him to help him as well."

Laughter cannot be controlled, says Vir, and refuses to be cautious about performing certain stand-up acts.

"I'm not going to be more careful," he asserts. "I am going to say whatever is needed to say as a comedian. People will always need to laugh, you cannot control laughter. There will always be comedy."

"If people have to be careful, it would be very sad for our industry but I don't think that will happen. Comedy is a talent of courage, and that courage will not die anytime soon.

"When it's comedy," says Vir, "it's not supposed to be taken seriously. The basis of comedy is that it's not supposed to make sense and it's not supposed to be realistic. The country is taking comedy way too seriously."

Jahnavi Patel / Rediff.com in Mumbai