The police were in touch with Google, Facebook and YouTube to block a video by stand-up comedian Tanmay Bhat that allegedly insulted veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar and cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, an officer from the cyber crime cell said on Monday.
Assistant commissioner of police Yashwant Pathak told ANI that the police were also trying to identify and block the IP address of the device from which the video was uploaded.
The police initiated an investigation into a complaint against Bhat’s video of a mock conversation between Mangeshkar and Tendulkar, even as the Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS demanded action against the stand-up artiste and the All India Bakchod (AIB) — his comedy collective.
Bhat used an app called Face Swap, which allows users to “borrow” another person’s face, for creating two videos titled Sachin Vs Lata #Civilwar that angered admirers of both the singer and the cricketer. Among other things in the videos, Bhat suggested why 86-year-old Mangeshkar was still “alive” and debated if test captain Virat Kohli was better than Tendulkar.
Bhat also picked on the social media, stating: “LoL, Twitter, jaha pe logo ke marne se pehle unke marne ki khabar trend hoti hai, ‘tasteless’ aur ‘crass’ jaise words use kar rahi hai (Twitter, a place where people circulate news of people’s death before the actual demise is witnessing use of words like tasteless and crass).”
“When you guys write about me tomorrow, can you please use my snapchat ID - it’s thetanmay, thanks,” he added. The video sparked off a virtual war on social media as political leaders and several members of the film fraternity attacked Bhat for poking fun at legends while fellow-comedians came to his defence.
Pahlaj Nihalani called for Bhat’s immediate arrest, even as filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar termed the video “sickening”. Actor Riteish Deshmukh had earlier tweeted that “disrespect is not cool and neither is it funny”, with Bollywood comrades Anupam Kher and Celina Jaitley echoing his sentiments.
Comedian Neeti Palta, on the other hand, wondered if the video was a “matter of national security” to be debated in such a manner. In an apparent reference to Deshmukh’s penchant for starring in movies that find lewd amusement in the female anatomy, she enquired: “Looks pe joke nahin karna chahiye (Shouldn’t one make fun of others’ looks)?”
Another comedian, Rajneesh Kapoor, wanted to know if Mangeshkar and Tendulkar could not be touched because “they are Bharat Ratnas”. Producer Pritish Nandy tweeted, “One tiny slip and the whole world jumps at your throat. That’s the life of a stand-up.”
Bhat also found support in Chetan Bhagat, author of bestsellers such as Five Point Someone and Two States.
AIB comprises stand-up comics Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya. Known for its quirky and satirical humour, the collective has gained a massive following across various social media platforms. Last year, AIB ran into trouble following a controversial “roast” that featured Bollywood A-listers such as Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Karan Johar.
(With inputs from agencies)