Does good humour require innuendo for knockout punch? No

shishir

Shishir Tripathi | February 5, 2015 | New Delhi



To,

Voltaire’s disciples


Why Grand Masti, (2013 adult comedy) was not targeted in the same manner. After all it too had explicit sexual content. The question was asked by a "liberal” friend in wake of the controversy surrounding AIBs recently released ‘knockout’ video.

Well, I could not answer the question. All I know is that two wrongs don’t make a right but certainly make a good excuse. But I would not buy this one as it does not make sense to me.

AIB, group of stand-up comics last month organized a ‘knockout’ in Mumbai. The show saw Hindi film actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor along with filmmaker Karan Johar exchanging insults. The format was simple. The three celebrities along with film critic Rajeev Masand and other AIB members took a ‘deep dig’ at each other. Of course keeping in mind the explicit sexual content of their comments ‘taking a dig’ is a mellowed- down-euphuism.

Anyways, the event was meant for charity and had around four thousand people in audience and around eight million YouTube hits, till it was removed, following a complaint and censor board member Ashoke Pandit raising serious objections against the show.

Now, with the facts in order, I am all set to do what I intended to do in this blog. I will judge their act and their humour. And yes I am ok with the tag of being a looser as I cannot have “sex with any one I want”. Hold on, I have to put forward a disclaimer. The criterion of deciding a looser is no way mine. It was decided by the two actors on the show.

I have been following the AIB videos for some time and was impressed by their subtle humor. Be it their satire (mind it, I am not saying they were judgemental) on the dwindling media ethics or their take on the inherent vulgarity in how the society perceives the act of rape.

Now what shocks me is AIBs decision to make the entire humour coloured with sexual innuendo. What required them to take this path? Was it for “extra 50 views on YouTube hits” which comes with every single gali uttered during the performance?

Well, there is valid question which I can hear. Who am I to decide what they decide to present. It is their freedom of speech and expression.

And that brings me to the second reason why I am being judgemental. No, I am not a “bigot” or a right winger which in all probability I might be branded as.

I am not against any freedom. I am all for freedom of speech but no matter how much I try or how much of I read Mill or Voltaire, I cannot contest the fact that no value, no matter how treasured, can ever be absolute, including my existence as a free citizen.

Yes, AIB roaster videos were not forced upon me. I watched it as a fully-conscious adult, which I am. But then a wrong, no matter how unintended it is, remains a wrong. Yes, I am making judgements. I don’t know if roping in the name of the veteran actor Farida Jalal was done after her due permission. Even if it was done in agreement with her, which I doubt, was really in bad taste.

Farida Jalal is a progressive actor by all means. Watching her smoke with her grandnephew in the award winning movie Mammo I never for a second thought it to be an attack on Indian culture. I always interpreted it as an expression of free spiritedness and celebration of life, even in most difficult circumstances.

But when Farida Jalal is made an instrument of libido jokes I fail to accept it as homour, art or whatever. I fail to be a ‘liberal’ at this point.

Raghu Ram of Roadies fame and his brother can be ‘roasted’ for their insanely foolish show. But who gives any right to the so called comedians to abuse the mother. I don’t think even the two sons have got this right just because they were born to her.

Then here is something called propriety in public space. Now the argument flows. The show was not meant for everyone. It was for select few who was there for charity purpose.

Fine, it was a ticketed event offering adult content, which was apparent in the fact that it was only for 18+ audiences. But then why was it put on YouTube. I guess it was for 8 million views.

You cannot sell anything in the name of it “not being forced upon”. It is a twisted logic by all means. And I fail to accept it. Next time a drug peddler should be let off. He never forced drugs upon anyone. People bought it deliberately.

But then the video was no banned narcotics. It was not illegal. Yes it was not. But the fact is that it was an adult content, made freely available on net, easily accessible by anyone of any age. But then so is porn.

Again, I am not comparing the two. It is the netizen-supports of AIB who are putting forward this argument.

I never said that AIB knockout with porn. It was by all means a soft-porn.

The house is clearly divided, more than the BJPwala versus AAPwala. One who is supporting the “cause” of freedom of speech are true progeny of J S Mill, others are plain bigots.

Further, I told a friend of mine that the show was titillating. “But so is God of Small things” The reply was shot on my face. Yes it was. But then I read it my personal space dude. I did not shout loud the profanities.

Just Google “quotes on freedom of speech” and Voltaire quote misquoted by AIB in their reply will be the first result, perhaps. It is very easy to find justification of one’s act in the statements of some famously and infamously great people. Justification for bombing innocent and putting them in a gas chamber will find great defense in rhetoric of books like Mein Kamph.

Moreover the quote attributed to Voltaire is actually that of Evelyn Beatrice Hall. Hall in her biography of Voltaire wrote "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" which is often misattributed to Voltaire.

If the AIB team would have dug a little deeper they would have found this fact and other one too that those cultural sensibilities, they are mocking as being intolerant,  are intrinsic to the freedom of speech and restrictions imposed upon it, at least as defined in our constitution. I am all for freedom of speech. But then I know it comes at a cost. Remember a great man once said, “There are no free lunches in this world.”

From a bigot-looser


What is All India Bakchod (AIB)


AIB is an Indian stand-up comedy group. It consists of stand-up comics Tanmay Bhatt, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya. They essentially produced satires and parodies on politics and society in general.

The controversy

On January 28 the group uploaded a video on YouTube. The video was recording of the “AIB Knockout” organised in Mumbai on December 20. The show saw Hindi film actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor along with filmmaker Karan Johar exchanging insults. The format was simple. The three celebrities along with film critic Rajeev Masand and other AIB members took a “deep dig” at each other.

However the video was criticized by some people including censor board member Ashoke Pandit. Akhilesh Tiwari, president of Brahman Ekta Sanstha in Mumbai, filed a written complaint at Sakinaka police station on 2nd February 2015 against AIB for using filthy and abusive language in the “Knockout”.

Ashoke Pandit, member of censor board also raised serious objections against the show. In a series of tweets he criticised the participants of the show for hurling abuses and indulging in obscene act in presence of large audience. Pandit tweeted, “Karan Johar could have easily shown his position while performing sex to his mom at home instead of making it public.#AIB Porn Show,”. He also tweeted “I support #MaharashtraGovts inquiry into #AIB a porn show on stage.”


On February 4, Maharashtra government announced its decision to investigate “roast” of actors Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh — titled Knockout . Following this AIB removes video from the YouTube and issues a long reply defending their act.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), the film and television industry’s trade body, has demanded an apology to the film industry from Karan Johar and Arjun Kapoor who were part of the controversial ‘AIB Knockout’ show.

 

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