Ironic, but hasn’t Kunal Kamra’s interaction with Arnab Goswami made him come out of the unknown?
Claim to Fame
Stand-up comedian, Kunal Kamra was banned from many air carriers in the country after badgering television news anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight. His behaviour was said to have upset those on board, and he was not co-operating with the crew.
The left-wing comedian and the right-wing journalist were on the same flight which led Kamra to make use of the situation. Kamra is known for focusing on the theme of politics and government in many of his stand-up videos and podcast, so when an opportunity like this land up it is obvious of him to make use of it.
Kamra believed that when he saw Goswami, he decided “to behave exactly how a Republic TV reporter would behave” and questions him on camera.
This video was uploaded on Twitter, where millions of people shared their split views. Republic TV journalists are known for their condescending tone and accusing voice when interacting with “Anti-Nationals”.
In 2017, a Republic TV reporter confronted politician – Tejaswi Yadav on board a flight. The reporter is told that “this is not the right place to talk”, and repeatedly ordered to take their seat by flight attendants, but she continues questioning him and ignores his plea for privacy and decorum. She did not comply with the rules and safety regulations of the crew, but no action was taken against her.
In the recent video, which was trending number one on YouTube, Kamra asks: “Arnab, are you a coward, a journalist, or a nationalist? The viewers want to know” mimicking Goswami’s own famous catchphrase, “the nation wants to know”.
What led him to take the video, he claims was the fact that he was called “mentally unstable” by Goswami, when all he wanted to do was talk about his form of journalism. This turned out to be just as Kamra expected, as Goswami chose to remain silent!
The No-Fly List
The No Fly List was started in 2017, after the Ministry of Civil Aviation had to curb troublesome passenger behaviour during the flight. Three Levels of offence were introduced – 1) Verbally unacceptable behaviour – barred for three months 2) Physical Conduct – 6 months 3) Life-threatening- 2 years.
Kamra has been registered as level 1, yet is banned for six months on Indigo, whereas SpiceJet, AirIndia and AirGo have yet to decide. In an interview with The Independent Kamra had joked that the only major carrier not to ban him – Vistara – might as well “just go for it [as well]… it’s the best airline, but they have the worst connectivity, they hardly fly anywhere anyway”.
The public is split between the behaviour of Kamra and also at the outrageous decision of ban on him.
MP Shashi Tharoor had tweeted in his support and even shared an incident during which he was heckled in the past, but no action had taken place. While others believe that Kamra should not have stooped down to Republic Tv’s level, even if it was to oust them on their idea of journalism.
On January 30, 2020, pilot Rohit Mateti who flew the Mumbai to Lucknow flight, felt the ban on Kamra was uncalled for he spoke out against the IndioGo management, stood up for Kamra’s Rights.
As further investigation is underway, the public globally have made use of this opportunity to sympathize with Kamra.
All this controversy had not stopped Kamra with his job, as he surprized people during a stand-up comedy gig (#standupforindia) in Mumbai, and was welcomed with a standing ovation. People joked that since he can’t fly anywhere, he was able to make it to the show!
Discussion on whether what he did was right or wrong remains the hot topic, but that doesn’t stop him from what he does best. It is no secret now that his shows will definitely attract more audiences in the future.