Saturday, September 18, 2021
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All India Bawaal over #AIB

I saw All India Bakchod (AIB) Knockout on YouTube and it went viral on the site. This was a comedy show which has bypassed all its conditioning of moral policing. They used quite bold and vulgar but yet worth listening contents. That was held in Mumbai by All India Bakchod starring Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor as the roast and Karan Johar as the host. In the recent past, Mumbai Police received several complaints about the usage of abusive language. FIR was then filed by Mumbai Police against the organisers for the show without acquiring any performance license. On 3 February 2015, AIB Knockout was removed from YouTube by AIB team due to the mounting controversies surrounding the show.

Really guys, we need to understand that they’re just jokes and AIB Knockout organisers and participants have given same explanation for their justification. Straight, ridiculous or whatever you want to call them, they’re still just jokes. The AIB Knockout video has been taken down, but in short span of time it broke all the records on social network. It went viral and millions of people watched it within a short span of time. No one has objected to the video or asked to remove that video in the comment section. AIB Knockout was another such attempt to try something new and bring the roast format to a country where celebrities aren’t often known to laugh at themselves. To our pleasant surprise, they managed to bring together consenting adults who were willing to be made fun of by other consenting adults in a crowd full of (wait for it) consenting adults. Were the jokes repetitive? It doesn’t matter because they happened in the spirit of good humour. It was just liberating to be able to say such things, which people have thought privately for years. A lot of laughter came out that night with that spirit .The video came with a clear disclaimer with age and content warnings. No one was forced to watch it. YouTube videos do not auto -play in front of you. And yet the videos got over 8 million views. Far more importantly, on the video page, the people who liked them outnumbered the people who disliked them by ten times.

There are many Bollywood movies which have used this kind of language and humour. Recently, the realistic movies made are charmless. It is useless if the language movies use does not give the feeling of that era or ambience. There are movies which use ‘so called’ abusive language in them. Films like Gang of Wasseypur, Omkara, Bandit Queen etc. are examples of this. AIB was just a verbal comedy whereas we have seen in movies that nakedness and crass sex vulgarity were present. We can live with abuse, hate, anger, fury, rage, ignorance, bigotry and perhaps even bullying. However, we will set moral parameters for others. Why we are opting for these double standard living?

They have already clarified that they never write with the aim of hurting people. That’s not their goal and they daresay that no comedian ever does that. In a secure culture, it wouldn’t matter. If few are objecting on the content then supports pour much larger than that. Guys, somewhere we have become very rude and hypocrites. We forgot to enjoy humour in the name of moral politicking. Finally, everyone rejoices that India is growing its sense of humour. Comedy collective AIB’s brave attempt at a roast – of actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor – has become a casualty, at least temporarily, to the fine Indian art of taking offence. The three-part roast has been removed from YouTube pending a probe into allegations of obscenity by the Maharashtra government. AIB has explained that they took the video off not because of ‘a 3 am phone call or a morcha at our front door or a gunman on a grassy knoll’ but because people who had supported the group had been ‘put in a position where things could get deeply unpleasant for them’. Some days ago, singer Mihir Joshi was ordered to drop the word ‘Bombay’ from a song – a precedent that might spell trouble for Director Anurag Kashyap’s soon-to-release film Bombay Velvet.

While we debate censorship and the thin red line between dirty jokes and offensiveness, there’s plenty to be affronted by in Bollywood. In a time where freedom of speech is under fire, literally as well as figuratively, I beg you to watch comedy. You may have YouTube and you may have TV. When you stand on stage or stand among the audience of a comedy show – you literally take a stand for what you believe in. The message is loud and clear – we will not let go of our freedom of expression and thought. A society where people do not speak up – secrets will be the main currency and as a public- we know that we will not emerge winners in an environment like that. Comedy is one of the basic survival instincts of a race. A world without it is literally, no fun.

I stand with AIB, if you too then speak out……….

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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