It’s been almost a month but the controversy surrounding the now-infamous AIB Knockout refuses to die down. Ever since the show’s debut on YouTube, every person with a half-decent broadband connection seems to consider it their moral, nay, birthright to comment on the situation. In true Indian fashion, we saw a pile up on the street and we couldn’t resist putting everything else on hold as we gawked and shook our heads at the tragedy of it all.
‘Roasting’ is not a new phenomenon: the first one was held 60 years ago and Comedy Central has now made it mainstream with their popular roasts of Pamela Anderson, James Franco and Charlie Sheen, among others. Comedians like Jeff Ross, Anthony Jeselnik and Sarah Silverman have made careers out of insulting celebrities with jokes that can make even the most seasoned of us cover our ears and avert our eyes.
So, after the initial jubilation following the AIB roast going viral (
January 30 – February 1
), things started turning sour.
At the end of 24 hours of release we were the no.1 subscriber gaining channel in the world. Ahead of Pewdiepie, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, VEVO— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) January 31, 2015
At the end of 24 hours, we were the third most shared video in the USA. Number 1 in India.— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) January 31, 2015
7 million hits and counting. Sincere thank you to the thousands who've sent us messages and emails. It's been a very interesting weekend :)— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) February 1, 2015
The Maharashtra Government ordered an enquiry into the matter and vowed to take swift action, because, consenting adults insulting other consenting adults in a comedy show that made the nature of its content expressly clear with repeated warnings is intolerable and cannot be made public, especially if said show is for charity.
“Our demand is for an FIR against the organisers, directors, producers and actors for obscenity,” said Akhilesh Tiwari, president of Brahman Ekta Seva Santha. “The youth gets inspired by the actors and usage of such filthy language is shocking. This is an attack on the Indian culture.”
"If the AIB Roast was vulgar and has violated the law, we will take action," Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said.
"We will examine if they had got performance licence and censor certificate. It will be seen whether the show has violated any rules under those licences. There will not be moral policing," cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde assured.
"The government should file an FIR against not just the organisers, but also the participants. The entire show was vulgar and derogatory," said Shiv Sena leader Ravindra Waikar, who is also the state minister for housing.
Five Christian organizations approached the Tardeo Police, alleging that AIB insulted Jesus Christ and insinuated that priests were child molesters.
All India Bakc#@d took the video down.
Have taken down AIB Knockout for now. We will speak soon.— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) February 3, 2015
Many celebrities came out in support of AIB following the retraction.
So nice to see twitter is filled with such angels who point out hypocrisy n never use foul language n have nvr laughed at dirty jokes (haw)— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) February 3, 2015
Some "not taking life so seriously" lessons are needed. DESPERATELY!!!!— Alia Bhatt (@aliaa08) February 3, 2015
If anything, they should be given an award for having the balls to push the boundaries in a society that needed pushing! @AllIndiaBakchod— Sid Mallya (@sidmallya) February 5, 2015
The AiB show is final proof thy India has finally come of age nd I truly appreciate Karan for taking the plunge or more correctly the leap— Ram Gopal Varma (@RGVzoomin) February 3, 2015
Not your cup of tea...don't drink it!!!— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) February 3, 2015
“I understand that we live in a society which has so many do’s and dont’s, but this is not something which is forced on to your face. If you choose to see it, you see it for your entertainment. It’s done on the sake of comedy.” – Ranbir Kapoor
“The way I look at it, I think it was in a good humour. Not meant to be taken very seriously. This is my opinion and someone else may have a different opinion about it, and that is the beauty of living in a democratic set-up. This has been turned into a big issue unnecessarily, it’s not needed. There are many more important things which people are dealing with and fighting for.” – Anushka Sharma
“Some people have liked it and some not. I guess that both sides have the right to express their opinions. If the show is just meant to be fun, I guess it is okay and no one should bother, as long as there are norms and rules in place that are followed” – Varun Dhawan
“I love the comments that AIB has already made. It doesn’t matter what the content is, people should be allowed to put out anything that they feel. I don’t believe in censorship. That’s all that I have to say.” – Sonam Kapoor in a tweet that was later retracted.
Similar Youtube channels like BeingIndian and The Viral Fever also offered their support. BeingIndian released a documentary on the current status of stand-up comedy in India:
Watch Film Here:
Censor board member Ashoke Pandit put out an ironically foul-mouthed tweet insulting roastmaster Karan Johar, and, for good measure, his mother.
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 (@ashokepandit) February 3, 2015
, AIB ran into further controversy when The Archdiocese of Bombay filed an official complaint to the State Government. They released this statement when the AIB founders met with the auxiliary bishop Agnelo Gracias: Bp Agnelo Gracias on behalf of the Archdiocese of Bombay accepted the unconditional apology and in the spirit of understanding and reconciliation stated that the Archdiocese accepts the AIB apology and considers this matter closed (sic).
Hey everyone... pic.twitter.com/bBcnji3LBV— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) February 4, 2015
, the Pune Police booked AIB for obscenity.
, Aamir Khan, without having seen the entire roast, chose to make his opinion on the matter public, provoking more reactions. "When Karan (Johar) and Arjun (Kapoor) told me what they said and did as part of the 'roast', I felt it was very violent event. I completely believe in freedom of speech and no issues there. Violence is not always physical, it can be emotional, it can be verbal. Jab aap kisi ko insult karte ho to aap violence perpetuate kar rahe ho," he said.
"Everybody has the right to air their opinions. In my opinion, it was not funny. I am not a kid that I will laugh listening to abuses. I am way past that age. I scolded both Karan and Arjun, who are my friends, and told them that I do not find it funny at all."
"If you want to impress me, try making me laugh without insulting anyone. I will enjoy it then. I am not talking about AIB, but about Arjun, Karan and other actors at the event...I think as a creative person, it is my responsibility to search for the good in people"
"I have also made a film like Delhi Belly which got an A certificate. I myself have gone out telling people it's an adult film. There are expletives in the film so please don't come if you don't like such stuff. I do have the liberty as a creative person but I also have a responsibility. I have to fulfill both. That's all I would say." He continued, failing to realise that AIB had offered similar warnings as well.
Not to be outdone, Russell Peters, stand-up comedian of Indian orgin, on the verge of a much-publicised India tour retaliated. "Seriously, who is he, the so-called artist, to say that he found it violent and that AIB and rest involved should have been responsible? He did not even see it! Someone please ask him to shut up and take care of his own business."
Pooja Bhatt, half-sister of Alia said, “I feel it’s hypocritical, self-styled moralists and the Aamir Khans of the world, who are more frightening and injurious. I am appalled at his sudden self-righteous mode. He has completely forgotten his body of work — the double meaning song, Bhaag DK Bose — in Delhi Belly, and the PK poster where he left nothing to the ­imagination, putting Sunny Leone to shame!”
, social activist Santosh Daundkar filed a petition against all involved. Following the order, the Mumbai police registered an FIR at Tardeo police station primarily against 14 people, including the president of the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) Jayantilal Shah, NSCI general secretary Ravinder Aggarwal, organisers of the AIB Roast, Karan Johar, Ranveer Singh, Rohan Joshi, Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Ashish Shakya, Aditi Mittal, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Rajeev Masand and Arjun Kapoor.
, Sonakshi Sinha and Mahesh Bhatt decided to get into an argument with each other when Bhatt alleged that his daughter Alia was mentioned in the FIR but not Sinha.
Dear Mr.@MaheshNBhatt, a couple of pointless FIR's have been filed before this (delhi and kol if im not mistaken, in which my name was (1/4)— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) February 13, 2015
Mentioned and Alia's wasnt. I don't remember my father questioning them as to how or why so. I do agree with u however, if these FIR's (2/4)— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) February 13, 2015
Are filed on 2-3 members of the audience, why not the other 3,998. Lets not give these ppl the attention they so desperately seek, (3/4)— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) February 13, 2015
And as far as my memeory serves me, nobody EVER went to jail for laughing. (4/4)— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) February 13, 2015
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