Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is the latest person to hop aboard the already-crowded bandwagon of Indians who are offended by the All India Bakchod’s (AIB) roast.
Right-wing Hindu nationalists and Christian groups have been up in arms ever since the comedy collective—and a group of Bollywood celebrities—put up a comedic performance where abusive language was aplenty. Those offended argue that such shows tarnish the “clean image of the Indian culture and women” and also mislead young people.
At a press conference recently, Khan said that he was “deeply affected” by the show because he felt it was “violent”—and that celebrities have “certain responsibility” to abstain from verbal violence.
In 2009, however, the Bollywood actor had no qualms making rape jokes in one of his most successful movies, 3 Idiots.
In the film, an Indian-Ugandan engineering student and non-native Hindi speaker, Chatur Ramalingam, wants to impress his dean and the education minister by making a speech in Hindi. In a prank played by Khan’s character, the words chamatkar (miracle) and dhan (wealth) in his speech are substituted with balaatkar (rape) and stan (breast).
This is the translated transcript of Ramalingam’s speech:
If our institute is touching the height of success, the credit goes to just one man—Shri Veeru Sahastra Buddhi. Give him a hand. He is a great guy…
For the last 32 years, he has continuously in this college done one rape after another. I hope, going forward, he keeps doing that. I am surprised how a man in his lifetime can rape so many times. He has made himself this capable by persistent hard work. The use of time, a clock’s full use—one should learn from him. We are all here today; but tomorrow we will be all across the globe. We promise that in no matter which country (we are), we will rape. That’s how we will make our institute famous. We will show the whole world that the capacity to rape among this institute’s students is unmatchable with any other student in the world.
He then addressed the education minister.
What you have given the students of this school is what we needed the most: breasts. Everyone has breasts, but everyone hides them, and nobody gives them.
You gave your breasts in the hands of this rapist. Now wait and watch, how he makes use of the breasts.
Here’s the speech as it appeared in the film:
Apart from being downright distasteful, there are many things wrong with this speech. In a country where a woman is raped every 30 minutes, making rape jokes in a movie that is targeted towards young people is not exactly the most responsible thing to do.
Such jokes only trivialise the gravity of sexual crimes in India where even politicians try to condone rapes.
The film 3 Idiots is not only one of the highest grossing films of all times, but was also released on 1,800 screens in India and it had an admit-all-ages certificate from the Censor Board. Most certainly, the speech was watched—and who knows, memorised—many more times than the All India Bakchod’s roast videos, which had eight million YouTube views before they were removed from the platform.
If Khan now disapproves the violence meted out by Bollywood and its legion of performers, perhaps he should begin by apologising for the rape speech from 3 Idiots.