Freedom of speech at IIFA Awards: Ranveer and Arjun show how not to give a damn


Whoever thought that IIFA would act as a platform for freedom of speech and a commentary against censorship? But this year’s IIFA awards did just that. Okay, granted it’s nothing as momentous as when Hollywood took on McCarthyism. But Bollywood is famous for never wanting to upset any government which is in power at the time. And Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, who were the Energiser bunny hosts of IIFA 2015, are unlikely heroes for freedom of speech. (You can almost imagine Dev Anand and Kishore Kumar’s ashes swirling in shock in the Ganga, as I write this.) But heroes they were.

Now I hadn’t held out much hope for the IIFA awards, having suffered through many of these over many years. It’s the same old jambalaya – hosts will crack jokes, if it’s SRK or Karan Johar or Saif or Farhan, they’ll be a little snarky and mean, then there’ll be lots of dance numbers and awards handed out to the most shocking of films and actors. And all this is usually spread out over three and a half unending hours, sprinkled with dance numbers.


Even though, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor remind me of Harold and Kumar or Cheech and Chong on a bad day, who knew that they’d kick off the awards by immediately addressing the much AIB Roast brouhaha, which had led to us, as a nation, realising that people are more offended by a roast (which by definition isn’t known for politically correct or even genteel humour) than by politicians telling us that rapes are small matters and that “homos are genetically handicapped”.

It was impressive enough that the opening number had Rakhee Sawant in it, instead of one of the A-list actresses. The boys followed that up by making fun of their own flop films to admitting how they were truly partners in crime because there’s a joint FIR in their names thanks to the AIB roast. They promised that they’ll never make fun of Reema Lagoo or Farida Jalal since it upsets Aamir Khan so much. They also, in all seriousness, commented on how Aamir wasn’t a purush, he was a maha purush.

The good times of cocking a snook at censors of free speech, didn’t last long though. The awards soon deteriorated into dance after endless dance, and prizes for films like Kick. But thankfully Ranveer and Arjun soon came back with a song about their AIB experience, with these lyrics:


Ab jabhi kisi ko kuch bolne jaate hai
Woh bolte hai STOP THAT
Bollywood mein aayein thein barein sapne leke
Socha tha milke khoob dhoom machayenge
Par ek din hum ne dedi gaali
Sab ne bola kaun hai yeh saale mawaali
Aamir ne utaari hamari chaddi
Politicians ne todi haddi.
Hum dono ki lag gayi waat
Aaj se no more gandi baat
Freedom of speech hai sabki “haq”,
But censor board kahein, you can’t say “f***”.

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