Courier boy gave wrong script of AIB Roast for NOC

While Tardeo police summon Karan Johar in AIB Roast case, organisers OML say delivery firm employee picked up the wrong script from its staffer's desk to submit for NOC

A year after the AIB Knockout show controversy blew up, it has now emerged that there was a goof up on part of the delivery boy while handing in scripts from Only Much Louder (OML) to the Rangbhoomi Prayog Parinirikshan Mandal, a wing of the Department of Cultural Affairs which is the nodal agency to grant licenses for stage shows in Mumbai. OML is the event management firm that handles work for All India Bakchod (AIB’s) shows.

Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar and Arjun Kapoor in a still from the controversial AIB Roast
Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar and Arjun Kapoor in a still from the controversial AIB Roast

In December 2014, AIB, the stand-up act, had conducted a roast comedy show at Worli’s NSCI Stadium to a ticketed audience of nearly 4,000. However, when the show was uploaded on YouTube in January 2015, some took offence to the show’s content and lodged FIRs against its organizers and celebrity participants, which included Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor and Karan Johar.

During an inquiry, it emerged that although OML had got a script for the show cleared, the script belonged to a previous performance called The Royal Turds 2014 and not the Roast. At the time, AIB had said that they didn’t know that a wrong script had reached the scrutiny board since that was OML’s responsibility.

The Tardeo police, which is investigating the case, says in a statement recorded by an OML employee, that it was a delivery boy named Shahjad Sayyed, who was given the task of getting approvals for the script from the Cultural Affairs Department. Sayyed, by mistake, picked up another old script and sent it for approval while the original script was never printed.
A police officer from Tardeo police station who is privy to the investigation, said, "According to the statement provided by an employee of OML, Sayyed had been asked to pick up a script from the desk of an OML staffer. While Sayyed picked up a script that was kept on the desk, the OML staffer had actually asked him to take a printout of the script and carry that for approval. By mistake, however, another script was sent for approval, which was different from the script used in the show. We now want to know from the actors who performed at the event if they were shown any script before the event and if that had changed at all."

"Yes, a courier boy did deliver the wrong script to the scrutiny board, which was to offer us an NOC. This is what has been recorded in a statement to the police by an OML employee. We do 300 shows a year; several scripts are lying around [at our office]. The mix-up happened," an OML spokesperson told mid-day.

However, the spokesperson added that the case is not against the licensing of the show, nor over the wrong script getting the NOC, but about the content of the YouTube show. "When you go on YouTube, you are doing so willingly. You can’t watch a show for two hours, and then say you are offended. We are closely following the case and we are hopeful that a good precedent will be set."

Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, the Tardeo police claimed that they had summoned actor Arjun Kapoor and filmmaker Karan Johar with regard to the case. They added that they were likely to send summons to Deepika Padukone, who was in the audience, and actor Ranveer Singh as well. "The actors are presently not in town but we expect them to record their statements soon," said the officer.

Film critic Rajeev Masand, who was a Roaster on the show, told sunday mid-day, "I don’t want to comment on the mix-up of scripts. We signed up for it, and we knew what we were doing and what we were saying. It’s naïve to think that in times of cell phones, nobody outside would know what was going on [on stage]. We didn’t anticipate this severe a backlash."

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