Saturday, February 21, 2015

Aren't we all the same?

The whole of socially active Indians are talking about “freedom of speech”, “freedom of expression”, right to be heard and having the option to make a choice of deciding what one wants to watch / experience. Post the 3-part episodes of AIB knockout that were released on YouTube, a furore of gigantic proportion erupted over the content of the episode, the language used and how much it is against our culture and the whole concept of “insult comedy”. For those not in-the-know of things, here’s a small backdrop of the incident – Some stand-up artistes decided to have an event that insults stars in a light hearted way.  The stars on their part are sporting enough to be insulted in front of live (and online) audience. So basically, people insulting each other and we, as outsiders, are watching it for fun. Harmless fun, I may add.

Not that my opinion matters compared to the popular ones on the Internet, but I still have an opinion and I have a platform where I can write about it – my blog. I saw all the 3 webisodes and found it quite entertaining. These were not awesome, but good enough to watch. Some of the jokes were really funny, some were ok, some were repetitive and some were not funny at all. But overall I enjoyed it and kudos to the team and the participants to even dare such a concept in India.

But there’s a problem. The ‘who’s-who’ of India perceived it differently. Some found it offending. Some compared this to porn. Some found it against Indian culture. Are you surprised by this reaction? Not me, for sure. 

AIB Knockout Roast - screen grab of statutory warning

To be fair to the AIB guys, the video started with a statutory warning and the way AIB roastmaster was introduced should have set the platform for what we are about to watch. The people who found it offending should have seen it coming. The people who compared this to porn, well, are ignorant. The people who found this against Indian culture need to test the ground reality by being a silent spectator to any teenage group conversation anywhere in India. During my teenage days, it was a fine balance between constructive discussions with a few cuss words thrown in between. The balance was maintained those days. Now the balance has tilted. 

So much enrage has happened on this issue that even FIRs have been filed! Wow, tough times ahead.

But that’s just one side of the problem. The other side of the problem is the reaction of ‘freedom-of-expression’ supporters towards those who are opposed to it. One Khan from Bollywood voiced his opinion and we pounced on him, called him a hypocrite for producing a movie “Delhi Belly” which had an objectionable song. Aamir Khan used his freedom of expression and we found it objectionable. A certain Khanna, ex-actress and now a writer, wrote about the hypocrisy of Khan and we commended her! So, what does that tell us? We will appreciate those who are in line with our thoughts but will also pounce on someone who does not support our version of the argument. Aren’t we also hypocrites in that regard? When a movie on god-men (demeaning them) hit the theatres, some of us silenced those who opposed the movie using the “don’t-like-don’t-watch” card. But when another movie on god-men (promoting them) was released, some of us went ahead and made fun of it. Isn’t the whole AIB-controversy also on the same line? Maybe what we fail to realize is that “The best way to explain our point of view is to walk the talk”. 

So what’s the bottom-line of all this? I genuinely felt AIB was good, it had an interesting concept and should not be a one-show wonder. The show must go on. People who like / support this concept, let’s show the other group how to support freedom of expression by practising what we preach. People who don’t like the concept, please close your YouTube window or watch some other video. The choice is yours.


  1. I didn't like it. It's ok to insult others who want to get insulted/paid for it but why crack obscene jokes on other people. But yes, there was no need to create a furor over it.

    1. Maybe, just maybe, other people were aware of it before hand and were fine with it. Who knows Saru. But I agree with your point of view. Media got the whiff of it and made it into a grand discussion.. Made a mountain of a mole..

  2. Hey
    Exactly, nobody is forced to view it. Hypocrisy is on rise.
    In spite of commenting and being judgmental one should practice discretion.
    Watch and enjoy what one like!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Swati, discretion is something we forget in such situations.. Like I said, the power is in our hands. Dont like it, change it..
      Thanks for stopping by, Swati..

  3. I go for stand-up comedy shows and when I saw AIB's insult comedy, I did enjoy watching it :-) It was just for fun and thats about it. You have to give it to the Actors for being such a sport. If people dont like it, they shouldn't watch it. Wasn't the warning clear. Some may like it or not like it, but why create a fuss over what's right and what's wrong.


All yours..

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