Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, who has won actor Kangana Ranaut‘s reality show Lock Upp on Saturday, has talked about working with the actor and said that it is the “beauty of a democratic country” that people with different beliefs can always work together.
“Many had raised questions about me doing this show. But I knew it was a means by which I could connect with fans, and I was successful in doing so,” said Faruqui, during a media interaction following his win.
The Alt Balaji show Lock Upp revolved around 20 contestants called ‘inmates’, who were locked in jail for 70 days. They had a ‘jailer’, who gave them tasks to perform, everyday as they fight for basic necessities and strive to win the hearts of audiences and the show’s host, Ranaut.
Faruqui made it to the finale, standing against Payal Rohatgi and Anjali Arora, who became the first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively. Though the comedian had gained over 18 lakh votes from audiences, the final decision was in Ranaut’s hands, herself. “As you have seen in the judgement day episodes, voting is only the first step. Rest depends on my decision,” the actor had said to the finalists.
Minutes later, after a few performances and a recap of the entire journey, Ranaut announced the winner by breaking Faruqui out of jail, while Rohatgi remained standing inside.
Netizens raised eyebrows when Faruqui, who had earlier been hounded by right-wing organisations since the beginning of 2021, featured in a show hosted by Ranaut. The actor herself has been known for speaking in favour of such organisations, with regard to several social issues.
Earlier in January, the comedian was jailed for allegedly cracking jokes that hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus during one of his shows in Indore, while he maintained that he was arrested for a joke he did not crack. Following this, close to 12 of his Dongri To Nowhere shows were called off over a span of two months, due to intimidation by right-wing groups such as Bajrang Dal, the Hindu nationalist militant organisation that forms the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in various cities, such as Ahmedabad, Raipur, Mumbai, and Goa.
Ranaut, on the other hand, had been making headlines for supporting all decisions taken by the BJP-led government. She had openly criticised protestors of the same, including the anti-CAA/NRC oppositions and also referred to the protesting farmers as “terrorists”, among several others.
Following the announcement of Faruqui joining the actor’s show, one of his earlier tweets surfaced on the internet, where he had called out Ranaut for her comments on nepotism, while noting that her sister has been her manager.
With regard to a clash in ideologies between the two, Faruqui had earlier said, “If someone believes in certain ideologies, they would also believe that we live in a democratic country. We all have the freedom of speech and to put across our beliefs. If one expects to be heard and their opinions respected, they too would have to do the same. It’s going to be a give and take situation.”
The comedian went on to win a car and a cash prize of Rs 20 lakhs, which he said he would use for a good cause and for himself, during a media interaction.