After critically acclaimed actress Tannishtha Chatterjee shared on social media her sentiment about the "regressive and blatantly racist" attack she faced when she went to promote her film Parched on Colors' Comedy Nights Bachao, a spokesperson on behalf of the channel apologised for "any hurt that was unwittingly caused".
In response to the actress' post, Colors company spokesperson said in a tweet, "It is rather unfortunate that what you had expected to be a fun and novel experience turned out to be traumatic for you on the sets of Comedy Nights Bachao.
"As a channel, Colors has always focused on creating content that is meaningful and addresses pertinent social issues - skin colour bias - being one of them. A few years ago, Colors was in fact appreciated for its show Laagi Tujhse Lagan where the protagonist was discriminated against because of her dark skin colour and how she fought this social evil."
The reply further read that "what transpired on the sets of Comedy Nights Bachao is not a reflection of the channel's philosophy".
"As far as the episode of Comedy Nights Bachao is concerned, we have ensured that the content is free from anything that may be deemed offensive. It was never our intention, nor a practice for us or the makers of the show to offend anyone at all with the jokes."
The channel has taken this up "seriously with the creative team and the production house to ensure that the show is produced in line with the vision of the channel. Please accept our apologies for any hurt that was unwittingly caused".
— COLORS (@ColorsTV) September 28, 2016
Comedy Nights Bachao's former host, comedian Krushna Abhishek also apologised to the actress.
Krushna was not present on the sets of the show when Tannishtha was "roasted" on the comedy show. She was accompanied on the show by her Parched team members, actress Radhika Apte and director Leena Yadav on Tuesday. A day after she shot for the show, Tannishtha took to social media to slam the format for its racist attack.
Reacting to it, Krushna told the media here, "If she (Tannishtha) feels offended by something, I apologise from our side. We never want to hurt anyone deliberately. Comedy Nights Bachao is of a roast format. Roast doesn't mean that we say just anything to anyone...
"I had asked Tannishtha, if she has seen the show, she said she doesn't watch TV as such. So, she has no clue about the show. So I took another example and asked her if she had seen AIB Roast? And she hadn't seen that either. I told her that since it's a roast, there will be some leg pulling, but we don't insult. Had we been insulting, the show won't have come so far."
The actress has said that she had some inkling of a roast courtesy Saturday Night Live show, and that with Comedy Nights Bachao, she was looking forward to be 'roasted' as her perception was that a roast is "a celebratory humour at someone's expense" and "a mock counter to a toast".
Pointing out that the only thing they could roast about a dark-skinned actress was "of course her dark skin", she said in a Facebook post, "This was an entirely novel understanding of roast that equates itself with bullying. And to my utmost horror, I soon realised that the only quality they found worth roasting about in me was my skin tone. It began with, 'Aap ko jamun bahut pasand hoga zaroor...?'"
Krushna said the new second season of Comedy Nights Bachao has been mellowed down due to its film integrations.
"When a show comes, 90 per cent people praise the show, but then 10 per cent say they didn't like it. So maybe she didn't like the format," said the nephew of comedy star Govinda.
Krushna said there are actors who take roasts sportingly.
"When Varun Dhawan came for Dilwale, Varun himself came up to me and said that he is very excited and looking forward to the roast. Even SRK chose to come to our show for Fan.
"I don't know what hurt Tannishtha, because I wasn't performing then. But I apologise if it has hurt her, though it wasn't a deliberate attempt," he added.
However, the actor had something else to say while speaking to DNA, "Tannishtha is going overboard. She is doing this for publicity. We always meet the actors before they come on the show. I had asked her if she had seen the show before and if she was familiar with our (roast) concept. She said she hadn't seen the show. She hadn't watched even AIB Roast. If she didn't know what it was, she shouldn't have come on the show. Secondly, we gave more importance to Radhika Apte who is a bigger star. That must have also been a problem for Tannishtha."
With inputs from IANS