Published in One India One People, February 2017
As a true, “hot-blooded” Indian, I keep wondering if at all we Indians have humor. Did your lips twitch at the word ‘hot- blooded’? Welcome to the world of Indian comedy- a complex quagmire. Comedy that surrounds most of us these days is exaggerated and hell yes, x-rated. When we mean ‘sense’ of humour, it obviously means the sixth one that goes amiss every time we buy that popcorn at the multiplexes.
Comedy is what we always infer from our Bollywood and Kollywood movies. It was either Johnny Lever and Jaspal Bhatti of yesteryears or Arshad Warsi and his short ‘circuit’ comedy to me that tried to pull out the laughs. These days the heroes have evolved as great comedians- if the hero can save the heroine, why not do it with the cape of the Joker? Watching a movie? We swim in a sea of sexually explicit dialogues that are being delivered, trying to get a grip on what is being thrust into our faces as comedy. Laughing already? See! Effect of ‘masala’ night comedy shows, this!
Crude jokes aren’t all sleazy, but rudimentary and repeated. It gets dull and boring like being stuck in a love-less marriage but with an alimony-full husband. The comedy track in movies these days is like the last dosa made with left-over batter. Never makes the mark and never takes-off.
The humour mills have been running overtime, turning out jokes that have watered down to plain, regressive women- bashing. The female lead’s anatomy is always the butt of jokes and so is her lack of brains (did I say Bhatt here?) I would like to tell you gentlemen, try cracking one such joke naming the wife and you shall see the end of days coming like the tsunami! The Bolly/Kollywood dictionaries stand corrected thus- a joke is a crude hit always below the belt and a comedian is one boxer who lands punches everywhere but the opponent. (Again…there you go laughing!) Dialogue-writers may please get their heads out of the sand and seriously think out of the box and the proverbial bottle!
Are televised comedy shows any better? TRP rating matters the most to the channels than their already waning reputation. Too many shows spoil the fans. The comedy satellite channels are always on ‘repeat’ mode as you twist and turn in the sofas to the innuendos flooding your living rooms, orgasmic, I say! Will someone tell those knuckle-heads that their jokes and bakra shows make us run for the remotes?
Stand-up comedy, anyone? Yes, why not? We have been seeing the sudden spurt of such short term wonders. The audience roars with laughter…now wait! The incredulously pinched faces would be reading between the lines to laugh as the speakers around blare recorded laughter and the herd follows the lead dutifully like domesticated husbands. How I wish I could cut the connection to those speakers.
Slapstick comedy? Dark humour? I’ve become immune to all those because, these days the best comedians are our politicians and the best comic genre, of course, is - Netagiri! Be it Dibi’s tantrums, MaNo Ji’s chest- thumping or Pappu’s night out, we remain fully entertained by the brigade. Still, move aside Netas, the RBI takes the Oscar for the maximum number of flips and twists in fifty days.
We have received wholesome entertainment the last few months, with trolls taking up with the netas in social media and meme-creators locking horns, taking sides on ‘ayes’ and ‘nahs’. Being a meme-creator brings you more proposals than what Tom Cruise would have received all his life! How I wish one day I would hear someone say, “Pappu ban gaya meme-creator!” and he gets married and lives happily forever. Social media has given wings to those bees that love to s(t)ing.
The other day a friend of mine was arguing that Indian women lack ‘humour’. Dear friend, Indian women have come of age long back and your crude and cruel jokes just don’t interest her anymore. Her biggest joke is- what you are looking at the mirror and she loves having the last laugh, always. Any doubts? Go figure!