[Mr. Bhat is a member of All India Bakchod, a comedy troupe whose videos are often widely circulated on social media in India, and which has courted controversy before. Complaints were filed last year against 14 people over use of obscene and vulgar language at an event in Mumbai organized by the group that was attended by several prominent Bollywood actors.]
By Nida Najar and Suhasini Raj
Ashish Shelar, the leader of
’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party for
Mumbai, and a rightist regional party filed complaints with the police on
Monday objecting to language in the video, which was posted last week by a
comedian, Tanmay Bhat. India
“They’re the icons of all
, and you cannot insult them with such bad
language,” Sandeep Deshpande, a spokesman for the rightist party, Maharashtra
Navnirman Sena, said on Monday in an interview with the television station
India Today. He said the video was “hurting sentiments all over India ” and could undermine law and order. India
Mr. Shelar said the video was defamatory.
Sangramsinh Nishandar, a spokesman for the Mumbai police, said on Tuesday that officers had taken no legal action over the video but were “looking into the nitty-gritty” of how it could be removed. He said the police had asked Facebook and YouTube to take it down.
Sachin Tendulkar, a hugely famous cricketer
who retired in 2013, in Mumbai last year.
Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Gaurav Bhaskar, a spokesman in
for Google, which owns YouTube, would not
confirm whether the company had been contacted by the police but said that it
complies with valid requests from law enforcement authorities. Facebook did not
immediately respond to a request for comment. India
In the expletive-laced video, which was created on Snapchat, Mr. Bhat uses that app’s face-swap feature to impersonate Sachin Tendulkar, a hugely popular cricketer who retired in 2013, and Lata Mangeshkar, a so-called playback singer for Bollywood films whose career dates to the 1940s. Playback singers record vocals for song-and-dance numbers, to which actors and actresses lip sync.
Mr. Bhat depicts the two celebrities arguing, with the cricketer telling the singer that she is “5,000 years old” and suggesting she should die. “Have you seen your face? It looks like someone has kept you in water for, like, eight days,” he has Mr. Tendulkar say.
The singer, her middle finger slowly rising, responds in a singsong tone, “Vinod is better than you,” an apparent reference to the retired cricketer Vinod Kambli.
In a post sharing the video on Facebook, Mr. Bhat wrote, “Also I obviously love Lata and Sachin, just having some fun.”
But Mr. Shelar of the Bharatiya Janata Party said by telephone on Tuesday that the video was “a public insult — it is defamation against Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar, who are public icons."
Mr. Bhat is a member of All India Bakchod, a comedy troupe whose videos are oftenwidely circulated on social media in
, and which has courted controversy before. Complaints
were filed last year against 14 people over use of obscene and vulgar language
at an event in Mumbai organized by the group that was attended by several
prominent Bollywood actors. India
Many people in
reacted on social media to Mr. Bhat’s video,
saying it was offensive, and some adding that he should be arrested. But others
came to his defense, including Sanjay Jha, a spokesman for the Congress party
who used the opportunity to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the
Bharatiya Janata Party. India
“We endure Modi’s one-sided bad jokes repeatedly with great grace in
,”, Mr. Jha wrote. “Let’s apply the same
yardstick” he added, referring to Mr. Bhat’s case. India
Rajdeep Sardesai, a political journalist, wrote on Twitter that the calls for Mr. Bhat’s arrest were “crazy,” adding, “Except incitement to violence and slander/defamation, free speech must prevail.”