Tickling the funny bone is not an easy task, to which most us would agree. Nevertheless, do we really need to be vulgar to make people laugh their heart out, remains the question. Thanks to the ongoing controversy involving a roast conducted by a comedy group, All India Bakchod, the debate of ‘Moral Policing vs. Freedom of Expression’ has gained prominence yet again. Akhilesh Tiwari, President of Brahman Ekta Sanstha in Mumbai, filed a written complaint at Sakinaka police station on 2 February 2015 for using inappropriate and abusive language in the AIB Knockout, which was organized in south Mumbai on December 20. The video was uploaded on YouTube on 28 January 2015 and the Maharashtra government was quick to order an inquiry against event organizers and participants.
Knowing the Roast
Image Source : Intoday.In
The format of the roast encompasses insult comedy of the highest or lowest (take your pick) order delivered in the form of one-liners designed to be as rude as possible. The essence of the roast is a belief that one should not take anything seriously – neither the insults hurled nor the manner in which it is done. The roast done by All India Bakchod complied with the concept – no matter how unruly and crass it may seem – with all its earnestness. The roast involved two Bollywood hunks Ranbir Singh and Arjun Kapoor, in addition to ace producer director Karan Johar. The two-hour show, as expected, gave the audience a fun time at the expense of celebs’ personal as well as professional life.
Conservatives are naturally at odds with the Roast
The conservative minded are questioning both the intent and the approach of the show, which according to them is lewd, abusive and degenerates the social fabrication of the society. For this clan, sex is a taboo and should be kept under the wraps. Even the idea of uncovering it can infuriate them to no end. Testing their modest sense of restraint is no way a sane thing to do, as it may result into violent protests more often than not. Call them hypocrites, traditionalists or self-assumed moral authority, these individuals and organizations never fail to amuse the common folks with their uncanny sense of reason and zeal, which is uncalled for in majority of cases.
Struggling for ground in the freedom of expression
Expecting them to conform to the ethos of democracy seems to be a far cry; and this case is no exception either. Attribute it to the intense pressure exerted on All India Bakchod or a part of its pragmatic approach to dilute the issue, the video is not available on the YouTube anymore. Nonetheless, the video has broken all records only after a couple of hours, which implies that this type of rude comedy has many takers and that too. in millions. The videos got over 8 million views and individuals who liked the video outnumbered those who disliked it by ten times to one.
The prompt yet extensive reach of the video was a shot in the arm for the All India Bakchod. The statement released by All India Bakchod, soon after the video was taken down stated, “The video came with a clear disclaimer with several age and content warnings. No one was forced to watch it; we did not buy airtime on every single TV channel on Earth to broadcast it. YouTube videos do not magically auto-play in front of you.” They have a valid point here. The interested individual has to take the trouble of getting online and search the video to view it, which further means that the individual gaining access to the video knew exactly what he is doing.
Each individual with reason and opinion is voicing his or her concern and the bandwagon is swelling out of proportions. With battle lines drawn and individuals geared up, a layperson, like always, finds himself on the horns of dilemma, whether to go ahead or resist the temptation to join a particular group.