Shyam Rangeela on mimicking Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi: 'I am glad the video got leaked'

Seema Sinha

October 29, 2017 09:41:18 IST

Stand-up comedian Shyam Rangeela’s phone has been ringing incessantly since he alleged that his act of mimicking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has been refused to be aired on the Star Plus show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Obviously, the artist is disappointed with the slamming of his act. However, he is happy the video got leaked.

In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, Rangeela said, “I am glad that the video got leaked. Had this video not got leaked, and gone viral, people would have felt that I gave my auditions and got eliminated in the first episode itself which would have meant that I failed completely and was not even selected. This would have really harmed me, my career but it was good that the video got leaked. At least now people have come to know the truth and the reason behind my elimination and my ouster from the show. But I don’t know how the video got leaked.”

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Shyam Rangeela. YouTube

Rangeela’s video of his original act, imitating Modi (with a mimicked version of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi making a ‘guest appearance’) had received a standing ovation from judges Akshay Kumar, Zakir Khan, Mallika Dua and Hussain Dalal and it has been doing the rounds on social media for the past few days.

“The production team had invited me on the show The Great Laughter Challenge and almost a month after the episode was originally recorded, I got a phone call asking me to shoot a new act because the channel decided to not air it,” said Rangeela. This was after two further scripts that he had submitted were rejected because they were based on Modi.

According to Rangeela, unlike other contestants who had to give auditions, he was invited by the channel to participate in the reality show after his videos mimicking Modi and other politicians went viral on social media. “The production team told me that the decision to not air my act was taken because the channel feared that it will offend some people and they might protest against them. The channel feared that the video might create some controversy,” he claimed. He was then told to re-record his act without mimicking Modi. “They said you can’t mimic Modi but you can do Rahul Gandhi,” said Rangeela. “I thought okay, at least they are letting me do something. But later they told me I can’t do Rahul either.”

However, when we reached out to Star Plus to ask what was objectionable about Rangeela’s act and why he was invited despite knowing his act which was already doing the rounds on social media, the channel authorities did not respond. Nobody from the channel’s side came forth with any explanation.

Rangeela, who has been a mimicry artist for over a decade, said, that for the first time objections were raised on imitating politicians which he has been doing for the last four years. “Till date, nobody has told me that I can’t imitate politicians. I want to raise this question that why can’t we mimic politicians when people are doing it on news channels all the time. Why can’t it be done on television shows?” he asserted, furthering, “Also, whatever I did was not offensive. It wouldn’t have hurt people’s sentiments, people concerned wouldn’t have felt bad. It was only about Modiji saying funny things about some serial, then selling tea and stuff. Then, Rahul accusing him and further talking about songs during his times and current times and Modi replying to Rahul. So far, I have always got a good response. People have lapped it up. As long as one is not making derogatory remarks against someone, it should be fine.”

But this incident hasn’t deterred Rangeela from going ahead with his future plans of mimicking other famous personalities and he is currently practicing to imitate Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Laloo Prasad Yadav. When we asked him to demonstrate some impressions, he said, “I am trying Yogiji’s style and the day I achieve perfection, I will showcase it. I am still learning and practising. Till the time the food is ready, one doesn’t get its right taste."

He further added,  “I have always been careful and I don’t say against anyone or offend people. People have always liked my videos that I have been uploading. So I will continue with my work in the same manner, I won’t change my style of mimicry."

Also, Rangeela is not too bothered about the controversy essentially because nobody has opposed him and he has been getting support from many fellow mimicry artists as well. “I have got support from the general public as well as celebrities and other artists. Nobody has opposed me, not even any political party, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) or Congress. Even the channel is not opposing me. They had approached me for mimicry purpose and for the very same work, they backed out and got rid of me. I couldn’t understand that. I feel very sad about the way they eliminated me. But I have learnt my lessons with this unpleasant incident. In the future, whenever I will go on a show, I will discuss the dos and don’ts much before and will see to it that such incidents don’t occur."

Updated Date: Oct 29, 2017 09:41 AM