When famous stand up comedian Tanmay Bhat of AIB made some funny Snapchat videos last year, containing mimicry of and jokes on the ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar and the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, there was an uproar throughout the country. This video, intended as a joke, brought oodles of trouble for Bhat. Along with hate comments on social media, he also received death threats from the local political party of Maharashtra i.e. MNS as they were enraged at him, for disrespecting the ‘national icons’ of the country (especially Maharashtra). The issue, which gripped the nation in 2016, cooled down after a few weeks of utter chaos.
Now wishing the ‘God of Cricket’ on his birthday (24 April), Tanmay Bhat has written an open letter to Sachin Tendulkar. In the letter, that he has posted on Twitter, he has expressed his immense love and respect for the cricketer and has thanked him for giving him some of his happiest childhood memories. Referring to the controversy, Bhat explains the worst part of the whole issue for him: that Tendulkar will only know him for that “silly joke” and now he will probably never get to meet his childhood hero. He further expresses his hope that someday Tendulkar will hear something positive about him and maybe the comedian will make him laugh.
The honesty in Bhat’s heartfelt letter has won him support from numerous social media users and people are requesting Sachin to forgive him and to also meet him in person.
This whole issue raises one important question which needs to be answered: Are we Indians so sensitive, so intolerant that we can not take humour in the right spirit? Is threatening someone, who is just trying to entertain us, justified? Political parties like MNS try to get political mileage by taking up such frivolous issues and making a political and social gimmick out of them (like publicly threatening Bhat). They do not do this for the benefit of the society but to mobilise support in their favour.
We should understand that a joke is a joke and that by imitating famous personalities, comedians are not only entertaining the audience but also showing their love for that particular celebrity. This also leads to the stars getting indirect publicity as people are reminded of them and their work; just to say that Shatrughan Sinha’s old dialogue (Khamosh!) have stood the test of ‘new trends’ because of comedians like Kapil Sharma who imitate him.
To respect the talent of the comedians and mimicry artists is the least that can be returned as against their hardwork to amuse us and keep us happy. If we keep on degrading their work and threatening them, it will put a fear in their minds and they will think twice before entertaining the audience. People need to take humour as it is meant to be taken and not let political parties cash in on these ‘so called’ important issues.
How about we be a little more tolerant and laugh on the jokes we like and simply ignore the ones we don’t? After all, there is a thing called ‘freedom of speech’. How about we let everyone enjoy it?
(You can read the whole letter here: https://mobile.twitter.com/thetanmay/status/856555332075745280)
About the Author:
Dreams to be a sports broadcaster with Star Sports. A sports enthusiast and in love with writing.