Can India Have Its Own ‘Family Guy’?

Posted on October 8, 2011 in Specials

By Rohan Seth:

Regardless of where we’ve reached in our animation skills, the question that beckons is whether the country can have its own eccentric family that ‘parodies’ religious figures, mocks politicians in an outright unprecedented manner, and lampoons just about everything else. May be we can. But then can it survive? Of course Narendra Modi won’t have a problem with a cutaway gag that travesties his involvement in the Godhra Riots, even Mayawati would be able to manage a laugh to a quip alluding to her penchant for statues. The moral contingent of the Shiv/Ram Senas would enjoy blasphemous jests about mythological characters and the babas would appreciate eulogy on their immortality medicines. Looks like a win-win situation to me!

You have to love Peter Griffin when he finds Jesus at a record store and innocuously believes that its his second coming; or when he visits Ground Zero and postulates that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by Saddam Hussein or someone from Iraq. Stewie, the one-year-old baby with an ambiguous sexual orientation is the headliner of the show with Brian coming a close second. Again you just can’t ignore their trip to a parallel universe where Christianity is absent and the world is 1000 years more advanced or when they make references to Walt Disney’s anti-semitism. And the list just doesn’t end over here, from Jews to Hitler, from Kim Kardarshian to George Bush, from religion to Star Trek, from the homosexuals to the handicapped, they haven’t spared anyone.

It wouldn’t be naive to reason that there is some truth behind the lampooning. Since when did the truth become a matter of merriment and joy, something you could go over and have a good laugh when you’re back from a tough day at the office.

So why can’t this ‘comical truth’ have its manifestation amongst the Indian palette. Its not that we don’t have a sense of humour, evidence of it being the myriad of ‘laughter shows’ on TV and their ever high ratings. So it probably has to do with the fact that the makers of the ‘Indian Family Guy’ might get killed by a mercenary ‘allegedly’ hired by a politician’s babu. Or it might become another debate agenda to hit the Indian Parliament with the neutrals supporting it, and the right and left wing opposing it, actuating another trust vote.

Censorship reflects the lack of confidence of society in itself; yes quite a few famous people have said this and it is true in the Indian context. The hyperglobalizers school of thought has lost out to the sceptics in this aspect, with the Indian state exercising absolute sovereignty over reviewing television content under the facade of penalising seditious activity. Family Guy stands for the ability to accept a pun, a joke or even a mistake, and move on. The state has been taking itself too seriously, its about time it had a good laugh at itself; and came back reinvigorated. Something tells me the Indian State could do with a family guy right now.