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Pushpa, I hate jokes

As you might have excitedly realised, last Friday wasn’t a holiday, or Christmas, but Dhoom Day. Perhaps most excited about impending Dhoom were Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba, the popular stand up comics who have a podcast called All India Bakchod (AIB). So as comics do, they wanted to do a spoof. But spoofs exist in relationship to an ‘original’ and relationships to ‘originals’ lead to take down notices. Because when others steal, it’s recycling, but when you attribute, it’s tumne jurrat kaise ki?

So, AIB preemptively asked the film’s producers for permission to use parts of their trailer in the spoof and were preemptively told to get lost. Pissed off, I mean, heartbroken, AIB made a video which asks why Bollywood doesn’t have a sense of humour and why it can’t take a joke, which is on YouTube and some film-related sites.

Personally, I support creativity, but come on yaar, it’s not fair to say that Bollywood can’t take a joke.

If you don’t believe me then just check out the game changer TV show (main nahin kehti, paper mein likha tha) Koffee With Karan, na. KJo sir is dancing so comically in the promo, and no, it is not unintentional. The proof is in his naughty smile as he spanks himself. What’s more, the totally bewilderingly tacky promo execution ensures that actually, the joke is on him and he’s ok with it, right?

Then see the show itself. Everybody is laughing all the time. In this week’s promo, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are wearing extremely funny pants (it’s not unintentional yaar, I am telling you!) and KJo sir is laughing at everything they are saying, thereby proving once more that filmi people are hilariously witty. Fine, ok, maybe the audience is not laughing. But can’t be helped, our audiences are not mature only na. If they don’t get the joke, it doesn’t mean it’s not funny.

While Bollywood is funny, they are also serious about it. That is why in an impressive example of complex layering, KJo laughs at Ranveer and Arjun, they laugh at each other and they also laugh at a person not in the frame, Kamaal R Khan. Earlier people have also made fun of Mallika Sherawat, Rakhi Sawant and Kangana Ranaut in the same way.

No, it’s not because they are provincial or vernacular, or outsiders and the jokers are babalog. Jeez, man, which twisted mind could come up with that
interpretation?

And Hindi films have a lot of jokes. There are jokes about South Indians, white folks, fat people who dare to fall in love, older people who are in a relationship, gays, gays who fancy un-gay people and people who don’t speak good English. Among many others.

Oh ya, I know, there are some types who go round saying — this humour is mean, derogatory and unkind, besides not being funny. Too much PhD anybody? Ha ha.

See, it’s not derogatory when the joke is made by cool, fair, good looking, upper-middle class, Hindi bolte matlab English heroes and heroines and filmmakers at the expense of minorities and non-mainstream identities. I mean that is how society is, no?

But where’s the propriety in small fellows making fun of big fellows, haan? Baby, I hope you know the 3 in Dhoom 3 stands for R300 crore, (no, not R3 crore you mandeli fry fellows). So you 1 lakh hits wale log are going to make jokes about a R300 crore movie? Where’s the sense in that humour?
Chhote bade ki kadar nahin rahi duniya mein.

That is why Pushpa, I hate jokes.

Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. Reach her at www.parodevi.com.

The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper. 

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