Mumbai Diary: Thursday theme

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

AIB's video a victim in an age of unreason
All we wanted to do was laugh, but apparently even that comes at a price. If at all. All India Bakchod, which was proceeding peacefully about its business until its online video of its live Knockout Roast performance caught everyone’s fancy and became virally popular, has taken the video down, and released a statement which to our ears is one of the saddest in recent times.

Members of the AIB
Members of the AIB

They have stated that no one has forced them to take the video down. “This is not something that’s happened because of a 3 am phone call or a morcha at our front door or a gunman on a grassy knoll. … 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. We can live with abuse, hate, anger, fury, rage, ignorance, bigotry and perhaps even bullying. But we don’t want anybody to get hurt because of us. And we do mean anybody.” With protesting groups sounding increasingly angry, violence is a possibility, for sure.

But when our city, not to mention country, has many very real problems to contend with, to think that a group of comedians whose only credo is making people laugh should be so intimidated makes us feel surreally like being in a Through The Looking-Glass scenario.

Explaining the roast
“People who’ve been following our work will know that we’ve always tried to experiment with content … with the sole intent of making people laugh and/or think. AIB Knockout was another such attempt to try something new and bring the roast format to a country where celebrities aren’t often known to laugh at themselves.

To our pleasant surprise, we managed to bring together consenting adults who were willing to be made fun of by other consenting adults in a crowd full of (wait for it) consenting adults. And if we’re honest, it was a phenomenally entertaining evening. Were the jokes repetitive? Crass? It didn’t matter because they happened in the spirit of irony and good humour.

“The video came with a clear disclaimer with several age and content warnings. No one was forced to watch it, we didn’t buy airtime on every single TV channel on Earth to broadcast it. YouTube videos do not magically auto-play in front of you. And yet the videos got over 8 million views.

The format was the same as any international roast i.e. insult comedy, delivered in the form of one-liners designed to be as rude as possible. It is performed with the understanding that none of the material is to be taken seriously — none of the performers actually mean the “offensive” things they say to each other on the night. We clarify this simply to provide context.”

With gags and threats flying freely (musician Mihir Joshi and Urdu newspaper editor Shireen Dalvi, to be precise), it is an uncertain time for people who speak, listen, look and think. In other words, everyone.
The full text of AIB’s official statement is at

Touching tribute
It's four months today since Mumbai’s cricketing fraternity was rocked by the news of 42-year-old Rajesh Sanghi’s death. Sanghi, a former junior Mumbai and Rajasthan Ranji Trophy batsman, suffered a massive heart attack while on holiday in the Maldives on October 4.

Rajesh Sanghi
Rajesh Sanghi

To commemorate his birth anniversary which falls on February 6, his near and dear ones have organised a cricket day in his honour at the Cricket Club of India where Sanghi played a lot of his cricket. Four teams St Mary’s, CCI, Bombay Gymkhana and a combined team of Podar College and Dadar Union (whom Sanghi represented) will compete for honours from Saturday afternoon with the final being held under lights at the Brabourne Stadium.

Sachin Bajaj, one of Sanghi’s friends, will present nine English willow ‘Baldy’ (Sanghi’s nickname) bats to promising cricketers on the occasion. What a great way to remember a much-loved character, who was known for his kind, helpful ways. Doubtless, the iconic venue will be full of emotion. The turf may even receive some tears, but Sanghi would want the game to go on.

Young Tendlya gets a leg up
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar is ensuring he leaves no stone unturned when it comes to preparing his son Arjun for the challenges of the cricketing world.

Arjun Tendulkar has great lineage and now, top-notch coaching. File pic
Arjun Tendulkar has great lineage and now, top-notch coaching. File pic

The world-record batsman, who bid an emotional adieu from the game in November 2013, has engaged legendary South African fielder Jonty Rhodes to train Arjun in his fielding skills. Rhodes, who is also with the Mumbai Indians where Tendulkar is “icon and mentor” after hanging up his boots, is believed to be putting Arjun through hard drills at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground for the past couple of weeks.

To improve Arjun’s bowling, Tendulkar has roped in former India pacer Subroto Banerjee. Banerjee has been coaching Arjun for the last one month. Our source told mid-day: “Sachin does not interfere when Arjun is practicing. Very rarely does he come to see his practice, and he will do that quietly from one corner of the ground.”

It may be recalled that Arjun also took some fielding lessons from one of India’s best fielders, Mohd Kaif, last year when he was a part of an Air India practice session for the Indian cricket board’s corporate tournament.

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