mid-day editorial: Comical controversy has gone too far

Comedian Tanmay Bhat has stirred a hornet’s nest with a video in which he takes digs at the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar, and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. Predictably, political parties have jumped into the controversy, demanding that action be taken against the stand-up comic for his remarks on the two Indian icons.

In the Snapchat video titled ‘Sachin v/s Lata Civil War’, the ‘face-swapped’ idols appear to be arguing over whether Virat Kohli is better than the Master Blaster. Bhat then jokes that Mangeshkar is 5,000 years old and looks like someone has kept her under water for eight days. He also says Jon Snow (a character from Game of Thrones) died, and so should she.

The Shiv Sena and BJP have demanded action against the video. The Sena asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take stringent action against AIB and Bhat for allegedly seeking to vitiate social harmony through the clip. The MNS had also earlier said it would lodge an FIR against the comic, and demanded that the video uploaded by him be removed immediately.

As an absolute storm is brewing, one has to be careful of these political parties. We have to realise that politicians being politicians, will seek to capitalise on anything that can give them more eyeballs and publicity. Drawn in by the buzzing social media, they have realised that it is an opportune time to show concern and profess huge outrage, all in the name of social harmony.

Here’s what we think: Let Bhat have the freedom to post what he wants to on his own Snapchat, and leave people to decide if they want to watch it, without the self-righteous going berserk and starting a fire where there is none.

While individuals may react to Bhat and roast him for ‘disrespecting’ icons, police action and arrests are certainly unwarranted. Roast the people who are making too much out of this, or simply seeking to sensationalise it. Comments are welcome, and roasting Bhat is alright too, but let’s not stretch things too far.

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