Not Funny!

Posted by harita katakamsetty in Culture-Vulture
November 29, 2017

A current debate on a news channel about a dubious comment by a humorist about orphans influenced me to think about the entire genre of comic drama. I think about whether for humour’s sake, we are going too far. Or have we lost our bones for entertainment? In any event for this situation, I am certain it is unquestionably not the last case.

To give you a thought of this specific occurrence, let me initially disclose to you, a little about the show.

This ‘engaging’ show is being broadcast on a presumed provincial channel. The show was an instant hit and the TRP ratings of the channel shot up (well, at least the show’s host asserts so). I, for one, know many individuals who watch it religiously – so perhaps the claims are not all false.

Anyway, there are five to six groups comprising of just men who establish a play each week to engage the audience, and two of the judges give them input on their execution. Since everyone acting is a man, if a play requires characters of women, these men dress up as women. Taking advantage of this fact, they perform in unimaginable ways pulling in a great deal of fire from the women associations in the state.

In this way, evidently in a recent episode, one of the performing groups ended up in trouble for scripting a hostile dialogue. As per the writer, an orphan is an unwanted child that is conceived out of a man and lady’s mere need to satisfy their physical wants. The judges and the host burst out snickering when they heard this. However, what they didn’t understand was that they weren’t only chuckling at an apathetic comment, but at a whole section of individual identities who are already vulnerable.

Not long after the show was circulated, there was criticism about the comment. A couple of orphans who happened to watch this specific scene, were deeply hurt and filed a case with the police against the author and the entertainer.  The artiste being referred to has attended a live debate on a news channel and when addressed, said that whatever he composed applies to the rash guardians who bring forth a child and discard them and that he didn’t plan to hurt any particular section of the society. Obviously, none of the specialists bought his logic and the discussion continued.

This influenced me to consider the fundamental meaning of humour – if there’s any at all. I recall how the AIB roast was in features, and the nation was separated into two, debating it.

You needed to pay a cost to attend it live or even take the pain of hunting it down on YouTube to watch it later. Either way, is it a similar case with TV? Most homes in India have a television, and watching it is a noteworthy pastime for the vast majority. Viewing a comic drama isn’t an awful thought by any stretch of the imagination, is it? Be that as it may, imagine a scenario in which the substance is age-confined or much more dreadful and untrustworthy? For those who propose a similar arrangement of essentially not observing such shows, let me remind you once more – this is TV.

Parents can clearly keep a check on how much internet their kids are using, yet it is hard to keep a check on them when they sit in front of the TV too. Likewise, not all parents understand the real issue. A few parents brush it away as ‘entertainment’, and nothing hurtful.

So when a man dressed as a woman is beaten or ridiculed, and every one of the grown-ups around giggle at it, kids may think it to be entertaining to whip women. Then again, they may misunderstand an impression about transgenders. Off late, I have seen a great deal of body shaming acts. A considerable amount of discussion has been done in regards to how body shaming can scar somebody’s life, yet sadly, it isn’t being considered important. Can’t we generate laughter without remarking on one’s physical appearances or stereotyping their sexual orientations?

PS – The woman who hosts this show was everywhere on a news channel, communicating her anguish over the utilisation of an ‘oppressive’ word in one film. And when she addressed this issue, she says that whatever is done on the show, is only meant for fun and not intended to be taken seriously.