The members behind the 'AIB Roast' of Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor have removed their three-part video from YouTube after it sparked controversy for obscene language and content even as they defended the show saying it was done without malice.
In a long statement that was funny and serious in turns, the team explained its motive behind the video that garnered 8 million views online.
A screen grab of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh at the Roast
"Let's just all take a deep breath. They're just jokes. Unfunny, crass or whatever you want to call them, they're still just jokes. The AIB Knockout video has been taken down.
"While we'd love to claim that it's because so many people watched it that it broke YouTube, the truth's a little sadder," the team said in a statement that it posted on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The members denied that they had received any threat or pressure to pull down the video, saying it was done for "pragmatic" reasons.
"With the Knockout, in our own juvenile, idiotic way, we wanted to push the envelope of comedy in this country. But then the envelope pushed back. Things got to a point where people who have supported us, people who work hard to make what we do come to life, were put in a position where things could get deeply unpleasant for them. And that's a problem," the statement read.
"There's a larger cultural conversation going on here, where we're at the very edges of what it's okay to say. And it's a conversation we need to have now because the world we live in is entirely too complicated to be run by silences."
AIB had earlier tweeted, saying, "Have taken down AIB Knockout for now. We will speak soon."
The celebrity roast, a first of its kind in India, featured a panel and filmmaker Karan Johar as 'roast master' to grill 'Gunday' stars Ranveer and Arjun on their professional and personal lives.
The show, which is being probed by the Maharashtra government, ran into trouble when several organisations filed FIR against the alleged obscene nature of the content along with censor board member Ashoke Pandit coming out heavily against it.
"They can't use the language in public that is not decent in any form. The entire show was abnormal," Pandit had said read the full article. Pandit, however, was slammed by Twitter community for his derogatory comments against Karan Johar.
The online community seems divided over the issue as three hashtags have been trending on twitter. The AIB roast event, staged in Mumbai in December, was attended by 4,000 people and the audience included Karan Johar's mother, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone among others.