Actor-comic Vir Das, who received heavy backlash and an equal amount of laudation for his viral monologue ‘Two Indias’, a part of his recent performance at the John F Kennedy Center in Washington, has said that it’s his job to make people laugh and he will keep writing for India as long as he is able to do comedy.
Speaking to multiple media houses on Monday for the first time after the video of the monologue posted on Youtube last week went viral, only to court a massive controversy, Das said anyone who understands humour or satire would understand his video.
“I think laughter is a celebration and when laughter and applause fill up a room…that’s a moment of pride. I think that any Indian who has a sense of humour, or understands satire, or watches my entire video, knows that that’s what happened in that room,” Das told NDTV.
In the six-odd minute video, Das walks his audience through two contrasting sides of India, covering issues ranging from pollution, COVID protocols, gangrapes to licencing of comedians in the country.
“I come from which India? I come from two Indias…I come from an India where the AQI is 9000, but we still sleep on the roof and look up at the stars. I come from an India where we worship women during the day and gangrape them at night…” the monologue goes on.
The verses struck a chord with many while riled up others, especially right-wing supporters who accused Das of showing India in a poor light on an international forum. Cases were slapped against him and Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra went to the extent of announcing a ban on his performances in the state.
“I am here to do my job and will continue. I won’t stop. My job is to make people laugh and if you don’t find it funny, don’t laugh,” Das told India Today in another interview.
Das has been nominated for an international Emmy for his Netflix show ‘Vir Das: For India’.
Asked if he had expected such an overwhelming response from the public while writing the monologue, Das said, “A comedian puts out satire and if it’s the good of the country and the bad of the country ending in the good of the country…I think that’s something that you should want to come together in – I cant expect what happens when I put out a piece of content…it’s jokes. It’s not in my hands.”
After the controversy broke out, Das had issued a clarification, stating that the “video is a satire about the duality of two very separate Indias that do different things” and should be watched in its entirely and not in snippets.
“The video appeals for us to never forget that we are great. To never stop focusing on what makes us great. It ends in a gigantic patriotic round of applause for a country we all love, believe in, and are proud of. That there is more to our country than the headlines, a deep beauty. That’s the point of the video and the reason for the applause,” he wrote, sharing it on Twitter.
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) November 16, 2021
In the interview with NDTV, Das said he has been in the field for 10 years and no criticism can stop him from writing jokes.
“I have made my country laugh for 10 years now. I have devoted my life to writing about my country. We are here at the Emmy’s because I wrote a love letter to my country. As long as I am able to do my comedy I want to keep writing love letters to my country.”