Update: All India Bakchod has put out a statement regarding pulling down their video. But here’s what we loved the most.
“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to death my right to get offended. How dare you? Baahar mil.” – Desi Voltaire
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. Far more importantly, on the video page, the people who liked them outnumbered the people who disliked them by ten times to one. Yes, ten times.
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. 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.
We are also cooperating with the authorities and hope to resume normal service soon. We’d like some sort of cheerful resolution to this so we can focus on more important national issues, like the upcoming Cricket World Cup.
We also noticed that the video is now available on torrents and in 1080p High Definition and in MP4 format. The torrent file also seems to have a healthy seed ratio with 109 seeders (this information is purely in the interest of the reader and reportage).
Earlier: Following an inquiry by the Maharashtra police into filmmaker Karan Johar and actors Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, comedy team All India Bakchod has taken down its video of its AIB Knockout show.
Have taken down AIB Knockout for now. We will speak soon.
— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) February 3, 2015
Not your cup of tea…don’t drink it!!!
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) February 3, 2015
We contacted OML founder Vijay Nair for comments, and will update in case we hear from him. OML had produced the show.
The AIB Knockout, which is inspired by Comedy Central’s Roast, where chosen celebrities are lampooned and subjected to insult humour from a panel of comedians and their peers for the amusement of a wider audience. The video of the show went viral on YouTube and witnessed more than four million views within two days of its release. But the video also generated a lot of controversy as many thought the video, which made fun of their cine idols and other holy cows (I apologise for offending anyone already) , was too “offensive” . It also set off a hash tag, #AIBNationalshame (rolls eyes) which started trending on Twitter.
However, things finally got serious for the comedy troupe (again I apologise for terrible puns, I should be in jail for that one) and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government would act against organisers of the show if it had violated any law. Ranjit Patil, the state minister for home, said websites selling the AIB Roast tickets would also come under the scanner, as indicated by this Hindustan Times report.
Being mindful of the delicate sensibilities of Salmaniacs all over, the show did warn people that it would be vulgar and offensive and said anyone who would get offended should stop watching it. Tanmay Bhat of All India Bakchod also did say that 40% of the jokes were edited for the web (p.s. The Quint has made a list of jokes which didn’t make it to the final cut).
We think that was a fair enough warning, you pansies.
However, this does highlight a bigger problem with censorship on the Internet. While the web was a simple way to get around censorship, like in the case of Bitto Sabki Lega, it seems increasingly the law system and police is being used to stifle freedom of expression on the Internet. We only need to look at the numerous examples where the police have swooped down on people for liking a status on Facebook or forwarding a message on WhatsApp.
We’ve come to rely on the liberal nature of the Internet where freedom of expression is guaranteed, because any other traditional platform like television is heavily censored and the whole channel is suspended if “obscene” content is aired on the channel.