• Sunday, June 23, 2024

Entertainment

Anuvab Pal: Modi is looming over all art and culture in India, just like any quasi-dictator

Indians today are living under “a gentle fascism”, the comedian told a publication.

Anuvab Pal

By: Mohnish Singh

Comedian Anuvab Pal has said he is careful about what he posts on social media for fear of censorship in India.

Pal, who is on tour in the UK with his new show this month, conceded that self-expression is “tricky” in an interview with the Telegraph.

Referring to India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, Pal said, “He (Modi) is looming over all art and culture in India, just like any quasi-dictator. There is an eerie atmosphere. I imagine it was the same doing comedy in Libya under Gaddafi.”

Indians today are living under “a gentle fascism”, the comedian told the paper.

“It is fascism, but it happened so slowly people didn’t realise. You notice it in the smaller, subtle things, the visit from the income tax man,” he added.

Pal, 48, who has built a fanbase in the UK despite living in India, highlighted the growing trend of self-censorship among comedians, as they grapple with the risk of causing offence.

“I am careful about what YouTube videos I post, but I don’t think his people would come after a comedian with a British fanbase. I’m too small for them, I think, for anything, I say to interfere with their voting base. But they’d come for a Hindi comedian with 20 million followers,” he was quoted as saying.

Three years ago, Vir Das, one of India’s top satirical performers, known for his willingness to critically observe his country, faced abuse when he performed his two India’s monologues in Washington DC.

Pal said journalists asked to know why he doesn’t talk more about Modi and Hindu nationalism whenever he travels abroad for his shows.

“Some people think I am chickening out. Maybe I am avoiding something. That would be very British of me, wouldn’t it?” he said.

Pal is in Britain for his upcoming UK tour, The Department of Britishness, which begins in Southend on May 17 and concludes in London with a week-long run at the Soho Theatre.

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