So All-India Bakchod dudes, how’s it going? I can only imagine what the last three days have been like. You’ve had your share of hecklers in your short careers. But I suspect nothing can have prepared you for the sloganeering hordes picketing outside your homes. You've no doubt been inundated with marauding bigots, moral policing types, media hogs and just the mass hysteria that follows any controversy these days — but the truth is you guys are now on the map. This ‘AIB Knockout’ roast of yours has catapulted you from the darkened halls of stand-up comedy to news stands all over the country.
Illustration/ Amit Bandre
Where your careers go from here, is up to you.
I head the Amul creative team that’s been roasting politicians and popular figures, on a daily basis for awhile now. Can I offer some advice? Share some insights?
So the first thing is, did I find your YouTube video ‘offensive’? (Look, personally I think comedy should be clever, not just a barrage of cuss words, but that’s another issue)
My big point is we, as Indians, have started getting ‘offended’ at the slightest provocation.
We live in turbulent times and tolerance levels have deteriorated. Sections of society are fast losing their sense of mirth.
Sadly, as we technologically progress, we’re mentally regressing.
So humour in the time of hate and disharmony has to be navigated. Carefully.
But, Tanmay, Khamba, Ashish and Rohan, the bottom line is, I think you guys are funny. You’re fearless, you have fire in your bellies and we’ve waited for awhile for free speech and expression to be really tested in the nation. You guys are pushing boundaries. And I’m a fan.
Here’s my thing going forward.
Your job is to entertain. Not make enemies.
The goons are waiting in the shadows. Make no mistake.
They may never watch you or your Youtube videos. But they are vile and violent.
There are many creepy crawlies out there. There are groups whose philosophies are “Let’s smash up a few public places, hurt a few people to impress our top bosses.” Or “We have no seats in the Maharashtra Assembly, maybe this will help us get one.” Or “We are angry ‘haves-nots’ let’s stick it to the complacent ‘haves’, for a change.”
Be careful guys. Your followers will ‘chadao’ you when you’re on top.
But when the going gets tough, as you’ve noticed this week, everyone runs for cover. No one’s got your back.
Don’t be bamboozled by the hype and be wary of the hoopla.
You shoudn’t have had to apologise for your actions or take down videos under pressure.
But be smart in the future. This is India.
Pick your battles and watch your language.
Give me insights, not inane vulgarity
You guys are bigger than that. Show the small people that. Don’t give them an excuse to attack. Tomorrow they will have moved onto Valentines Day revellers anyway.
You don’t want to be roasted at the stake. Your audiences would prefer to toast you.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.