It’s time a filmmaker from the industry takes up the AIB Roast controversy as the plot and builds his movie around it, as the issue has gradually burgeoned into a massive one. Stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma and Mahesh Bhatt among others have constantly been questioned over the issue and myriad views, ranging from total support to the trio – Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Karan Johar – to absolute ignorance of the happenings have emerged.
Aamir Khan, for one, was totally against of what happened and had even gone ahead to call the AIB knockout event “violent”. He said though he hasn’t seen the entire ‘roast’ but he was very ‘disappointed’ with whatever clips he had seen.
Aamir’s reaction sparked off yet another controversy with criticism arising not only from the industry colleagues, but also from stand up comics like Russell Peters who even asked Aamir to “shut up”. Twitteratti also slammed him as a “hypocrite” who produces adult comedies like ‘Delhi Belly’ but can’t stand expletives in a comedy show.
The superstar has finally broken his silence and explained the reasons behind his “double standard”, as called by others, reaction.
In an interview to Mumbai Mirror, when asked about his reaction on AIB Roast and what followed, Aamir said, “I respect everyone’s opinion. For me freedom of speech and expression is an important right and should be protected at all costs. But I also feel that freedom comes with responsibility which should be self-exercised. It’s unfortunate that caught between the rightwing fascists and the ‘no-holdsbarred’ faction, the moderates are in danger of losing their voice. I’m aware that if you sign up for the Roast, you sign up to insult each other. But, in this case, even those who hadn’t signed up were being targeted, like Farida Jalal, Reema Lagoo and a beautiful, young girl I love dearly.
The young girl whom I’ve known since she was a kid, was the butt of racist and sexist jokes. She did not even know that a live audience was watching this and couldn’t protect herself. That is unfair! This is what I meant when I described the show as “violent”. Films which depict violence are fictional but this young girl is real. So my reaction was more emotional than moralistic.
I wasn’t objecting to the use of expletives or adult jokes. If two consenting adults wish to insult each other, that’s their problem. But you can’t go around attacking anyone you feel like. That is no different from the physical violence we see around us and object to. And when someone uses the words “shut up”, it makes me believe that these people are certainly not a part of the group that is for freedom of speech.”
The young girl Aamir Khan has referred to in this excerpt is Salman Khan’s kid sister Arpita Khan, who is said to be very close to Aamir and his family. Reportedly, Arjun Kapoor was in a relationship with Arpita before making it big in Bollywood and this was made fun of in the show. Arpita’s skin colour and looks were apparently targeted.
This bit was, however, removed from the version that was edited for Youtube.
Remains to be seen now, whether this reaction on the erstwhile reaction creates another controversy or not. It’s time, however, the issue just died.