AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 04 Februari 2015 | 07.20

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AIB has posted a letter, explaining the reason behind the roast, sharing it on Youtube and taking it off eventually. Read on to know what they had to say...

"I may not agree with you, but I will defend to death my right to get offended. How dare you? Baahar mil." – Desi Voltaire

Dear everyone,
Let's just all take a deep breath. They're just jokes. Unfunny, crass or whatever you want to call them, they're still just jokes. The AIB Knockout video has been taken down. While we'd love to claim that it's because so many people watched it that it broke YouTube, the truth's a little sadder.First things first; no one person or force forced us to take this video down. This is not something that's happened because of a 3 am phonecall or a morcha at our front door or a gunman on a grassy knoll. Under the circumstances, this is us being pragmatic. Allow us to explain.People who've been following our work will know that we've always tried to experiment with content be it on Youtube or a live comedy show, 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. It was just liberating to be able to say those things, things that people have thought in one form or another privately for years. A lot of the laughter that night came from that spirit (there's your answer, people who wondered why everyone was laughing at terrible jokes).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.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.
(contd...) 

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

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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 hope it's clear by now that we never write with the aim of hurting people. That's not our goal and we daresay that no comedian ever does that. We don't go to work and say, "Hmm, let's offend XYZ people from XYZ community today." If we really wanted to piss off people and hurt them, we'd be selling credit cards over the phone.Our job is to raid the newspapers, pop culture and life for observations and analogies and it's okay if you think we're juvenile or unfunny. We respect arguments that are critical, and as for the arguments we don't, we respect your right to make them without impediment. It is a courtesy we wish worked both ways.Over the last few days, we've found ourselves subject to more scrutiny, judgment and opinion than we're worth. This Knockout shouldn't matter. In a secure culture it wouldn't matter.We're lucky to have support pouring in from all quarters. First up, from our fans, just the greatest people in the world, who have nothing but good cheer and encouragement and positive thoughts. We were pleasantly surprised that people in power who we have made fun of in the past, including people from both the so-called right wing and left-wing, went out of their way to convey support to us. It was fantastic to know that they stand for free speech as much as us. Friends in the media have told us to stay our course, pledging their support for our right to say anything, no matter how ridiculous. Thank you to anyone who has stated in the last few days that we have the right to say what we want, not as comedians but more importantly as citizens of this country.There's a larger cultural conversation going on here, where we're at the very edges of what it's okay to say. And it's a conversation we need to have now because the world we live in is entirely too complicated to be run by silences. We still stand by our belief in the right to absolute freedom of expression for us and for anyone who has anything to say about anything at all. We hope to be part of an environment that supports that sort of expression without fear of persecution, intimidation and most importantly, annoyance. As always, in our own AIB way we'll continue to strive towards creating that very environment.
(contd...) 

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

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In the meantime, we'd like to say thank you to our fans and everyone else who is standing by us. You guys make the struggle worth it. To everyone railing against us and against the stars that were present, to everyone who's decided we're destroying the fabric of our culture, to everyone who's called us seditious pornographers while plotting the downfall of Indian Values And Civilization As We Know It, we would like to reiterate that we are just a bunch of comedians who work, and have always worked, without any malicious intent whatsoever.We encourage any and all conversation on the subject of freedom of expression, for our own silly selves, and for people better, smarter and more courageous than us. For hundreds and thousands of artists, commentators and any and all citizens that do not have the privilege of social platforms and reach that we do.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.

P.S. Best of luck Virat Kohli. Sorry for the jokes. We heart emoticon you.P.P.S. It's a good thing nobody's downloaded the file and put it on a torrent website or anything.

Disclaimer: The letter has been sourced from the Facebook page of AIB and reproduced as is.

Read on to know about how a series of events led to the AIB roast video eventually being taken off Youtube... 

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

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According to a DNA report, post the probe ordered by the government and Maharashtra CM's interest in the issue, the AIB has pulled down videos of their controversial roast from Youtube. Informing followers about the same, the All India Bakchod Team tweeted, "Have taken down AIB Knockout for now. We will speak soon." After being embroiled in a lot of controversies, the final nail in the coffin for AIB may have been the comment made by Maharashtra CM, Devendra Fadnavis. Maharashtra Chief Minister commented upon this incident. "If the AIB roast was vulgar and not in accordance with the law, then we will act," he had stated.

Here's how the MNS threatened Karan Johar, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh with consequences, if they fail to apologise for being a part of the roast... 

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

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According to an IANS report, MNS Chitrapat Sena chief Ameya Khopkar has said that Bollywood filmmaker, Karan Johar and actors, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh need to apologise for being a part of the contentious roast. Claiming that the content of the programme was totally against the Indian culture and standards of decency, Khopkar has demanded an unconditional public apology from all those involved. He has also threatened that if the actors or director fail to issue the apology, they will be forced to stop the screening of their films.

However, this is not the first trouble that the AIB Knockout roast has landed in. Read on to know about Censor Board member, Ashoke Pandit's justification of his inflammatory tweet against Karan Johar... 

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

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Reacting to the uproar caused by his tweet, Censor Board member, Ashoke Pandit says he is appalled by the participation of celebs like Karan Johar, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor in the AIB Knockout roast and by tweeting he was only expressing his displeasure. "I am a fan of Karan Johar's cinema and am extremely hurt by what he has done on the stage. He makes films that promote core Indian values and people look upto him but when he endorses a show like this one, it sends out the wrong message to the youth of the country," reasons Ashoke Pandit. But by tweeting in what was being termed to be 'crass' language, isn't he promoting the very concept that he is opposing? "I cannot answer AIB's vulgarity with charity. I have to send out the message loud and clear and for that I have to use a language that they understand. The tweet is just an extension of the roast" he asserts.

Read on to find out what Ashoke Pandit had tweeted and the reactions that followed... 

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

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After the government had ordered a probe into the matter, Censor Board member, Ashoke Pandit's comment on the issue has caused much outrage on Twitter. The tweet that targetted the host of the AIB Knockout, Karan Johar, is being lambasted for being vulgar. Filmmaker and now a member of the Censor Board, Ashoke Pandit, had tweeted, "Karan Johar could have easily shown his position while performing sex to his mom at home instead of making it public. #AIB Porn Show."

Ashoke Pandit is now being shamed on the micro-blogging site for the tweet. Here are some of the tweets where people have voiced their opinions...

@ashwinmushran
"You've got to laugh at the irony of people using the same language that AIB is accused of while protesting it. Difference is, they mean it."

@mihirfadnavis
"The first accomplishments of the new Censor Board are 1) Promising complete ban of profanity in films 2) Saying AIB have sex with their mom."

@varungrover
"Achha mauka to do a photoshop of @ashokepandit kissing a Taliban mullah full on the lips. Like that #UCB unhate campaign."

Read on to know why the government has ordered a probe into the 'roast' that had the internet in splits...

Disclaimer: All tweets have been sourced from Twitter and written as is.  

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles

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According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, the government has ordered a probe into the AIB Roast. The state culture department, impelled by reports that All India Bakchod's (AIB) Bollywood roast featured excessive ribaldry, ordered a probe into the show. Cultural affairs minister, Vinod Tawde was quoted in the report as saying that, "Officials of the department will examine videos of the show for content. If found vulgar, action will be initiated." Explaining the reason for the investigation, Tawade said, "Some people reported to me that the performance had vulgar language, and inquired if the performers had the censor certificate. I asked Cultural Affairs Director Ajay Ambekar to conduct an inquiry. There is no problem if they have a certificate. If they don't, we need to find out how the stadium allowed such a performance without a censor certificate. It's a crime then and we will have to register an FIR. In the state, our censor board is supposed to give permits." However, the culture department is not the only one probing the issue, the police are also independently investigating the matter.

While the roast is generating a lot of interest on social networking sites, Twitter is divided between those who support the roast and those who don't. Read on to know why... 

AIB Roast: Censorship hassles


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