Saturday 21 February 2015

Everything Wrong & Right About The AIB Roast Controversy

All India Bakchod Roast of Ranveer Singh & Arjun Kapoor AIB

If ten years down the line someone would ask me how I felt as an Indian youth and how it affected the way I think, feel, live and perceive, I honestly think ‘it’s complicated’ would be my unfortunate response.

We belong to a developing nation stuck for eternity in development, teeming with unbound, untapped potential yet bogged down by it’s own fallacies - we are, as I like to muse, a superhero that doesn’t want to save the world. 

The growth of Internet and just a wider awakening in general has exposed today’s educated youth to the disparities in our lifestyles as compared to the big bad West. Amazingly hypocritical is our stand that we shouldn’t model ourselves over the western culture, yet we unabashedly love to emulate the negatives and condemn the positives. Emulate when we feel it’s time to develop and condemn when we jingoistically feel we should adhere to well-defined norms. 

As a result, we’re getting bloody nowhere. 

Movies like ‘PK’ or ‘Oh My God!’ are promulgated with tags of ‘this is what India needs’ or ‘big step for Indian cinema’ instead of ‘good movie’ or ‘nice acting’. We are suspended in limbo in wanting to be as free, bold and audacious as the rest of the world, yet being pulled back by preset notions of conventional behaviour.

It’s frustrating, gut-wrenchingly, brutally frustrating to watch this unfold. For us to take a tiny step forward, and then be pushed back another five. Why are we so afraid to be bold, and why are we so hell bent on forcing personal opinions on everyone else?

I’m writing this post today as a rant that will mostly be forgotten by the time the next ‘Mauka Mauka’ video for the Cricket World Cup comes out, and to all this is just an outpouring of despondency. I’m sharing an opinion that you don’t have to agree with, and the last thing I want is to force you to live a life based on my opinion. (not like anyone will)

The first mistake All India Bakchod made was bask on their confidence that they’re transgressing horizons in Indian culture. Who are they to think that they could call a few actors, indulge in a bit of self-deprecating humour, raise some money for charity and not piss off the world? Who on Earth gave them the right to think people will have to live with this, because they’re being bold and India has to accept this?

No way in hell would we accept this, for a few homosexual jokes on Karan Johar (which never even existed for the past decade), a few derogatory jokes on film stars that actually sent the message that they’re not the gods you treat them as, as they too have their flaws, a minor jab on Ashish Shakya’s skin colour (skin colour jokes are a downright no-no between most friends after all) are all definitely more apocalyptic than our perpetual poverty, economy, illiteracy and general disregard for a person’s individuality. (see Section 377) 

Maybe they should’ve gone through it gradually by loading the Roast with some knock-knock jokes followed by a few subtle jabs on Ranveer Singh’s frivolous sex life (like any other Filmfare award script) because that’s the only kind of comedy we should hear. This is what they did Wrong. They probably underestimated the backlash, and maybe the condescending ‘you know, like a roast’ should have been ‘please give us a chance to try this in our country’. 

They should beg and plead, because you can’t have freedom of expression until it’s approved by everyone.

The one thing that really pisses me off, to no end, is the notion that these groups who condemn these kind of shows do it because it’s ‘against our culture’ or ‘paints the wrong image for children’. 

Sir, when I was one of the children, I grew up a spectator in a country where rapes happen so often no one within the authority cared anymore, money was being lavishly laundered in projecting splendour while the same children scrapped to be literate, politicians threw insults and chappals at each other (and also watched pornography during parliamentary sessions), people pissed in public wherever they went and mainstream movies featured heroes that disrespected women because it was cool. Are you sure that’s not against the culture as well, because I sure did grow up painted with the wrong picture.

Kids are not stupid, and definitely smart enough to know what’s for them or not. I preferred watching my kid-friendly Cartoon Network over Star News’ Sansani or a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai over a Murder or Jism because there’s a reason entertainment is catered to a specific age group. It’s because the rest won’t care. 

Also, where’s the bloody consistency? If someone made a joke on Deepika Padukone’s fairness or Rohan Joshi’s anorexia, I want everyone to flip out the same way. Morgan Freeman once said that the best way to end racism is to stop talking about it, and big bad M-dog spits some real truth when he wants to.

Aamir Khan can make Delhi Belly and ask people who get offended to not watch, yet condemn a show with a similar style of entertainment (without even watching it). Criticism is fine as long as it’s fair - that the show was cheap, crass and offensive is true. That some people should ardently dislike it is fair. That none of us should see it because apparently it would definitely affect us is dictatorship.

It’s frightening how sensitive we are to trivial issues that won’t end up benefitting anyone, how stubbornly hell-bent we are on consorting everyone to what we perceive is the ideal lifestyle and how bluntly impassive we are to issues that actually drag our nation down. 

But hey, saare jahaan se accha Hindustan hamara, and all of that.

* * *

If you liked what you read then do help me by sharing this on social media platforms of your choosing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+, Reddit I ain't picky). We're all artists somewhere, in some field, and this is just my form of art that would truly find expression if more people get the inclination to read it.

You can like this blog's Facebook page here, follow the Twitter feed here or follow me personally on Twitter here.

Similar articles:

Everything Right, Wrong & Bhai About The Salman Khan Hit & Run Controversy: Read More

TVF's Arunabh Kumar, International Women's Day, Buzzfeed And The Growing Business Of Feminism: Read More

India At Rio Olympics 2016: No Country For Non-Cricketers: Read More