Tanmay Bhat, Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar: Here's everything you don't need to know

Tanmay Bhat's parodies of Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar has, to use a technical millennial term, broke the internet.

If like the rest of the world, you're wondering what the fuss is about, here's what really went down:

Bhat, a comedian, who had earlier posted a monologue on feminism, presented a short skit on Snapchat last week. Using the app's face-swap feature (you can unfortunately swap your face with anyone's or anything's), he mimicked Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar in a video titled Sachin v/s Lata Civil War. Starting with imitating Sachin, Bhat spouted lines such as "Virat is good with the bat, and the ladies”, and moves on to 'roasting' or as some people from the internet like to say, insulting Lata Mangeshkar (he says she is 5,000 years old). He also imitates Lata making fun of Sachin saying that her fans will mourn her by singing her songs at the singer's funeral. The video ends with a lot of jibes and insults in Marathi.

Bhat then took to Twitter to further voice his opinions.

But even before he posted the video, Bhat reportedly put out a disclaimer as saying that he loved both the icons.

As the controversy grew, the Shiv Sena and the BJP called for police action against Tanmay Bhat. Shiv Sena even asked the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take strict action against the comedy collective All India Bakc*** (AIB) and Bhat for allegedly seeking to vitiate social harmony through videos on Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar. The BJP's Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar also requested that a police complaint be filed against Tanmay Bhat and AIB.

The MNS meanwhile said that it will lodge an FIR against Tanmay Bhat and demanded that the video uploaded by him be removed immediately.

The Mumbai police has initiated a probe following the complaints. DCP (Operations) Sangramsingh Nishandar said the inquiry is being conducted by special branch of the city police. The inquiry was initiated after Shelar complained about the issue to city police chief Datta Padsalgikar.

Sachin's wife, Anjali Tendulkar also voiced her opinion on Twitter.

Erupting into a major controversy, ACP Yashwant Pathak of the cyber crime cell said that investigation is on to find the comedian's IP address.

As expected, Twitter found its fodder for the day. Celebrities called it "tasteless" and "crass".

Of course, criticism towards Tanmay escalated quickly and veered dangerously personal.

The biggest joke yet? That this is such a non-issue and is being taken massively out of context. And that AIB is only testing the boundaries of free speech, as it did last year, is proof that we need to refine and reform our hate speech laws. And the fact that a non-issue warrants an extensive copy, only to detail how all this doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things, is a joke in itself that might be dissected for another slow-news day.

Why are we darting away from speaking our mind as it were a posionous shrub that might give us red splotches all over if we indulged in it? Remember Shashi Tharoor's "cattle class" remark? If we can't seem to appreciate a comedian, we obviously can't appreciate an articulate and witty politician, I suppose.

We have to remember that we live in democratic India and not dystopian-style North Korea, where if Kim Jon-un decides you laugh, you actually do laugh. And when you're asked to style your hair like his, you damn well do.

Think of how much trouble Indian actor Khushboo incited in 2005 when she made a strong (but true) statement about how men should not expect their brides to be virgins. Naturally, guardians of our Indian-value galaxy were enraged. How can women engage in premarital sex? Or rather how can they say that out loud in public? She may not have won the bigger war, but she did win the legal battle.

Aamir Khan came under the same scanner last year when he and his wife (dubbed the intelligentsia) said that there were instances of growing "intolerance" in the country and that he was "alarmed" by a number of incidents. Wife Kiran Rao went ahead and suggested that they should probably leave the country. Did Khan say he wanted to leave the country? Well, how dare he? What happened to the patriotic fire that has to be kept alive in the hearts and minds of Bharat Mata's children? Wasn't Khan just sharing his insecurities — the same ones that plague us when a woman is raped, assaulted or harassed? Or when a man is lynched for possessing what was supposed to be beef, an allegedly anti-national food item?

Are we so devoid of humour that we cannot differentiate between a malicious statement and a harmless joke? Tanmay Bhat is a comedian and a comedian uses various tools to make a person laugh — straight humour, twisted humour, roasting and more — if you didn't really like it, you always have the option of not laughing at it. Enough ink and pixels have been spent on explaining random outrage.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 30, 2016 19:19 PM

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