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Even as comedians like Sorabh Pant believe that outrage over Tanmay Bhat’s video is unwarranted, here’s my take –
If insulting someone’s physical appearance is the only thing necessary for making people laugh, it is a mystery why Tanmay Bhat even makes the effort of opening his mouth on the stage.
By his logic, to make people erupt, he just has to roll in, park himself for a few minutes and show his mug that resembles, to rephrase his description of Lata Mangeshkar’s face, boiled cabbage marinated in fresh cow dung for eight days. People would start ROFL till Bhat is forcibly lifted from the stage by a crane.
If comedy were just about laughing till you drop dead at how people look, Bhat’s prolonged presence on a stage would have been nothing short of a national calamity. It would have filled out Indian ICU’s at a dangerous rate.
Unfortunately, humour is not about pointing fingers at others, their age, gait, speech, colour, class, community or appearance–all ugly forms of verbal racism and mental squalor. Only those with the intellect of dodos laugh when someone is insulted.
What does Tanmay Bhat do? He pokes fun at Lata Mangeshkar-our nightingale, pride, joy, prayer, the mellifluous voice of India. He drags Sachin Tendulkar into his pathetic prattle that makes us laugh not at the content or his sadak-chhap lines, but at the brain that came up with such ideas.
Lata ji, Tanmay Bhat, Lata ji. Say that name out aloud in front of a mirror and tell us what you felt. Let me tell you. There is a couplet by Iqbal, which, I am translating for you. He says, when Nature cries for thousands of years on its barren ugliness, then only after great difficulty does a beautiful flower blossom in the garden. Lata ji is that flower of India.
And you want her to die just to make people laugh? Bhat, even Jon Snow did not die of shame. But, I guess some brainless twit who has pretensions of being a stand-up comic should after wishing harm to Lata Mangeshkar or using nasty words for her words by parodying Tendulkar.
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Some of us have had the misfortune of watching an episode of AIB whose defining moment, in my opinion, was Karan Johar singing in front of his mother how a certain part of his anatomy falls asleep while standing because kuch nahin hota hai. (Perhaps Johar deserved a date with Kamaal R Khan to cure that unfortunate ailment ). So, we know that in the world of AIB, anything goes, in front of mothers, sisters, sons, daughters, anybody you wish to make proud with ribald jokes and profane parodies. Go ahead, nobody minds that.
But, Tanmay, when you insulted Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, your friends during that famous roast, at least you had their consent. Back then, however ugly and gross it may have been, your victims were willing to lie back and enjoy it. But, need we remind you of the word for a forced assault on somebody’s honour? You have all the freedom in the world to express your thoughts, but not the license to ridicule old age and wish death upon people.
If you are really interested in humour, why don’t you make some effort to know what it really means? No, it isn’t saying the F-word ten times, dealing in double entendres and verbal porn. If just these stunts were enough to make us laugh, Dada Kondke would have won several Oscars just because he produced films you and your gang seemed to have been reared on.
So, start from scratch. For real humour, watch Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films, enjoy Dharmendra making us mad with his clever, witty lines in scholarly Hindi in Chupke Chupke, witness Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt engage in witty repartees in Golmal. Read PG Wodehouse, relish lines like, “There is just one cure for gray hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine.”
Otherwise, just go by the old adage: Before laughing at others, learn to laugh at yourself. With the kind of taste you have, trust me, you won’t find it difficult. Just keep a mirror handy.
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