Comedy video sparks political ire, cops probe

Mumbai comedian Tanmay Bhat gets violent threats for jokes about Mangeshkar, Tendulkar

MUMBAI Mumbai police have initiated a probe and asked Facebook and YouTube to block comedian Tanmay Bhat’s video of a mock conversation with Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar that has sparked a massive outrage, with several political parties on Monday demanding action against him and comedy group All India Bakchod (AIB). Bollywood has also reacted sharply to the comedian’s portrayal of the music and cricket icons, saying it is in poor taste.

Titled Sachin v/s Lata Civil War, Tanmay, in a video posted on Facebook on May 26, took jibes at the 86-yearold melody queen and the 43-year-old cricketing legend.

Mumbai deputy commissioner of police (DCPoperations) Sangramsingh Nishandar said a complaint has been given by MNS at Shivaji Park police station regarding the issue, but the police have not registered any FIR so far. He said the police have taken a transcript of the video and they would now seek legal opinion from experts before taking further action. Cops have written to Facebook and YouTube requesting them to block the video and its link, he said. The DCP said inquiry on the issue is being conducted by the special branch of the city police.

The inquiry was initiated after Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Ashish Shelar complained about the issue to city police chief Datta Padsalgikar.

Film wing of Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Chitrapat Sena, has also urged the police to block the video and its link online. The MNS also threatened to beat him up. Its president Ameya Khopkar said, “The MNS will not allow Tanmay Bhat to conduct shows in the city and police should arrest him as quickly as possible.” The Shiv Sena asked chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to take stringent action against AIB and Bhat for allegedly seeking to vitiate social harmony by mocking the national legends. Sena leader Neelam Gorhe wrote to Fadnavis seeking action against those behind the video which she said was made by people with “deranged mentality”. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) state spokesperson Nawab Malik termed the AIB video “in extremely bad taste” and demanded severest action against the insult to two Bharat Ratna laureates.

Meanwhile, Bhat was at the receiving end of celebrities on social media networks. Tweeter Anupam Kher: “I am 9 times winner of Best Comic Actor. Have a great sense of humour. This is NOT humour.”

“Absolutely shocked. Disrespect is not cool and neither is it funny,” said Riteish Deshmukh. On his part, Bhat retorted: “Lol, Twitter, jaha pe logo ke marne se pehle unke marne ki khabar trend hoti hai, ‘tasteless’ aur ‘crass’ jaise words use kar rahi hai.” He urged: “When you guys write about me tomorrow, can you please use my snapchat ID — it’s thetanmay thanks.”

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