It’s All Good. Nothing To See Here. Move On Now.

16th May, 2014 will go down in history as the day India gifted a whopping majority to its new and controversial Prime Minister, Arnab Goswami. If the result wasn’t proof enough of a Modi wave, consider the following true story: A couple in Indore named their twin boys — born on 16th May — ‘Narendra’ and ‘Modi’. (This was a source of great joy for them, but not so much for their older triplets, Lal, Krishna and Advani.)

But the most pressing question here is, do people still name their babies Narendra? On the plus side, that’s one less kid named Aryan, which lowers the douchebag count by one. But on the other hand, you just know that all the other kids are going to call him Uncle all through school, until he graduates and becomes a retired LIC agent.

He’ll still have it better than his brother, whose first name is also a last name. It’s like naming your kid Gupta Sharma. Why would you do that? Also, if the kids start flunking school, do they get renamed to ‘Dammit’ and ‘Rahul’?

The problem is that even though the results are clear, a certain section of alarmist, book-reading liberals are harping on about their concern for free speech. It’s ridiculous. Why would you think that free speech is under threat? Just because Modi’s BJP will rule the roost in huge numbers, while the opposition wields all the influence of a potato? That’s insane, and it’s exactly what the ISI wants you to believe. Let me assure you that dissent and political humour are going to flourish in the years to come. In fact, I’m going to prove it to you with the following anti-establishment jokes:

Q. Why did Modi cross the road?
A. Because Congress is corrupt.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Modi who?
Pappu hai hai!

Q. How many Modis does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. Sagarika is a Bangladeshi bai.

Modi walks into a bar. And raises it.

You see what I mean? There’s no problem at all. Nope.

And yet, the critics persist. One recent report that got their Fabindia panties in a bunch involved the arts and culture cell of the BJP. Apparently they’re looking to actively develop and support films that showcase traditional Indian values, which, as it turns out, is not just shots of flowers grinding against each other. The film they cited as an example was DDLJ, which promotes the great Indian custom of going halfway across the world to infiltrate the wedding of a girl you once hung out with for a week.

DDLJ also showcases the glorious Indian tradition of fixing a match for your daughter when she’s just a baby, and then uprooting her from a lifetime in suburban London so that she can marry a lecherous stranger and live in a village in India, because people in London are bad and they drink beer.

It also features the classic ‘Hey Simran, I kinda date-raped you when you were drunk lololol this is so funny why aren’t you laughing oh crap I was just kidding’ scene, wherein we learn that Raj Malhotra would never do something like that, not because of the depravity of the act, but because of his (drumrolllll) Indianness.

That, my friends, is the power of culture. So these Lashkar-loving hippies should really stop overthinking the connect between the BJP and the underlying message of DDLJ i.e. your joy is at the mercy of angry old people.

But the report that really sparked off outrage among the Macaulayan parasite class was about how a shipbuilding professional faces serious jail time for allegedly posting an anti-Modi opinion on a Goa-related Facebook group. Thankfully, the cops are checking to see if this is part of a “larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony [in Goa]”. These Maoist seal-clubbers can whine all they want, but our balanced sense of justice has foiled what would’ve been a devastating communal clash in Goa. It would’ve played out somewhat like this:

Goan Guy 1: Hey, so I disagree with this FB post. In fact, I’m so angry that I’m going to pick up weapons and cause some communal disharmony. Wanna come?

Goan Guy 2: You mad or what men? It’s siesta time.

So clearly, the hysterical jhola agents need to calm down and do a shot of aam ras. They can’t always expect things to go their way and be “fair” or “logical”. You know the old adage: if you want to make an omelette, you have to arrest a few eggs. Or as Raj Malhotra once said, “Bade bade democracies mein aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 25th May 2014.)

Warning: This Humour Column Is Not Yet Rated

A scientific study has concluded that 98% of India’s economy is reliant on important people making stupid statements (the rest is fuelled by Chyawanprash). That can be the only explanation as to why, day after day, the news reads like the Who’s Who Of Idiocracy. The latest entrant to the club is the new chief of the Censor Board, Mr. Rakesh Kumar, who declared that he would eliminate violence and vulgarity in films by washing film reels with Alok Nath’s DNA.

Ok, so he didn’t use those exact words, but that was pretty much the impression he gave off in his first interview, wherein he talked about the need to show erring filmmakers their place, which is somewhere in the 18th century. But before you get too critical, please understand that as a former Indian Railways employee, Mr. Kumar has the necessary knowledge to make decisions for all of us. This was evident when he used his five-year-old daughter as a focus group, citing her opinion of Shudh Desi Romance (Tagline: Watch Parineeti Play A Sassy North Indian Girl For The 658th Time) as having “too much love”. While this review is more insightful than anything produced by, say, Taran Adarsh, it’s best to not lend too much weight to the opinion of tiny humans who see crayons as a valid food group.

Secondly, Shudh Desi Romance is rated U/A, which means that it is suitable for kids aged 12 and above, so a five-year-old shouldn’t have been watching it in the first place. It’s like taking a kid to a bar and then complaining about the lack of Happy Meals. I’m sorry, but you cannot enforce public policy based on the opinion of your child. What are you – the Congress party?

Mr. Kumar also derided films like Grand Masti, as any sane human being should. Not because Grand Masti is filthy, but because it’s wildly unoriginal and has been known to cause AIDS. But by going down the moral police route, Mr. Kumar has done something that takes real skill – he has made me defend an Aftab Shivdasani film. Kumar also thought that Gangs of Wasseypur had terrible language, or as the residents of Wasseypur call it, language. (Apparently the cuss words in Wasseypur were inspired by Anurag Kashyap’s reaction to the censors screwing over Paanch.)

A lot of the concern comes from how films might affect kids. This argument is as tiresome now as it was when I first heard it as a kid. This was in the 90s, when a controversy had erupted around the song ‘Sexy Sexy Sexy Mujhe Log Bolein’, starring The Eyebrows Formerly Known As Karishma Kapoor. The word ‘sexy’ was eventually replaced by ‘baby’, which made things confusing for Govinda when he sang, ‘Meri pant bhi baby, meri shirt bhi baby’. Then there was Khalnayak, which put forth the question “Choli ke peechhe kya hai?” to which Sanjay Dutt replied, “Bandook”. Also in the fray was the UP-flavoured Sarkai Leyo Khatiya, Jaada Lage – the definitive work on thermodynamics. That song is a nursery rhyme compared to recent Bhojpuri hits like ‘Danda Daal Ke Piye Madam Tohaar Mango Frooti’. (Don’t ask. I have a lot of free time.)

It’s amusing to think that there was a body of government officials trying to save us from the scourge of pelvic thrusts in theatres, especially since nobody was monitoring TV. In the early days of cable, English movie channels regularly played A-rated movies during the day. Kids my age knew that if they switched on the TV and waited long enough, they’d be rewarded with the sound of a parent’s approaching footsteps and would have to hurriedly change the channel. My point is that despite all this, we turned out just fine (except for this horrible habit of espousing creative freedom).

I’m not saying the censors have it all wrong, but India is a country where gratuitous rape scenes were the norm for the longest time, and consensual sex scenes were censored. Also, it is perfectly okay to not like a movie. You don’t have to like everything you buy a ticket to, be it a movie, a play, a comedy show or the midget bowling alley. You have the right to come out and tell people what you thought of it. What’s worrying is when you use your personal opinion to stop others from forming their own. Seriously, go away. You’re not my real Babuji.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 19th Jan 2014.)