Wednesday, February 4, 2015

All India Bakchod Roast: A perspective on Freedom of Speech

AIB Roast has become the new whipping boy of our culture and moral police. The rush to protect the so-called "Freedom of Speech" is instantaneous. The support is flowing from the same quarter who wouldn't have the guts to be roasted and would even shy or even run away from such acts by some one. But they were too happy to sit back and enjoy somebody else being roasted, all the time, enjoying the filth. Wait a minute, did I say filth? Sorry, I didn't say that. That's how the show was opened by Karan Johar. He warned that it was about to get filthy and that anyone who was likely to get offended must leave. But how would the people who were watching it on Youtube leave? In fact the video was allowed to be seen without any login, inspite of the warning on adult content. Though this could have been easily avoided by the AIB team ( by marking it as adult content, thereby requiring login by users), the slip looks intentional to get large views.

But re-focusing on "Freedom of Speech", one wonders if the All India Bakchod team is actually claiming a "Freedom to Filth"? By their own admission, the AIB Roast was filth. In the name of getting the nation to loosen up to humour, the fear is if we are being fed with Filth. And unsuspecting people, assuming that such conversations are commonplace in a closed room with friends, give it a thumbs up, even when it is done publicly. I am a big fan of comedy as a tool for questioning social norms. But AIBRoast wasn't questioning any social norms, in fact creating more unhealthy ones if any.  We don't even know the limits of this type of filth, conveniently disguised as comedy /  humour or even worst - freedom of speech. The likes of R.K.Laxman to Cyrus Broacha have already made us loosen up to humour and comedy. But should we tighten our seat belts now for filth as well ?
So, where do we go from here? Every such incident throws open the flaws in the system. On the technical end, we could be doing many things, starting with ending the assumption that Internet cannot be controlled. Humans created it, we run it, so we can control it - period. But that's not going to be enough. We as a nation must awaken to the subtleties of life. Life is not all about losing control and calling f*** a** at the drop of a hat and appear cool. We must remember that culture is the extent to which one can process his thoughts. What we saw at AIBRoast were unprocessed thoughts - the exact mirror of unprocessed actions, which translate into far more tragic consequences like, abuse, violence, rape etc. 

Let us not forget: thoughts precede actions. Freedom of Speech was earned with blood of our forefathers. Let us not roast it but nurture it to mean something more meaningful.

PS: I am still a fan of AIB's videos on Youtube, especially on 2014 elections. You guys rock !