Recently I read a post by Kiran Jhamp called Alarmed By A TV Show : Patriarchy Nights With Kapil? on the Women’s Web website. The post reminded me why I stopped watching the show long back.
Almost two years back, in 2013, a Punjabi friend of mine asked me curiously if I had been watching Comedy Nights With Kapil Online. (We both are in the UK, we watch it on laptops, not the TV).
I didn’t know what it was about but the way she talked about it made me definitely curious to try it out. I did. But for very short time.
I would be lying if I said it did not hook me. The characters, the jokes, the set, it’s all a fresh approach to comedy from the monotonous comedy shows with one stand up comedian and 3 judges.
But it didn’t hook me long enough and I quit watching the show after just a few episodes. I had been meaning to write about the reasons but for some reason it slipped and reading this post by Kiran pushed me to give my specific reasons.
1- In the episode where Sonakshi Sinha is promoting some movie, a random guy from the audience asks her boldly “when are you going to loose your weight”?
This horrifying question coming from a random man in the audience is not surprising considering Kapil and Siddhu constantly mock over weight people in the show; mainly in the audience. To me this is astonishing that how can a random man try to fat-shame an actress on a national platform and not get social bashing for his stupid question. Why would this man or any man or WOMAN for that matter, consider that it is OK to point out/mock/ask such a question to a woman on the stage?
2- Secondly, as Kiran mentioned, the constant put downs by Bittoo of his wife are truly annoying. Is that how Indian men feel manly or proclaim their manhood; by making fun of their wives and her family? No wonder Indian guys think it is ‘normal’ to abuse swear and mock the girls’ family. Personally experienced; whenever I was on the girls’ side in a wedding, it was always humiliating. And we wonder why that is… why gender stereotypes are so deeply ingrained in our society…
3- Thirdly, the norm that Bittoo can and does flirt with every woman he can while his wife cannot and does not ; shines light on the double standard of the patriarchal society we live in. Why is monogamy just for women? And sorry if this feels like a feminist rant but it is about equality. Why isn’t a married man equally looked down upon for hitting on women as is a married woman? Forget about married woman, even single women are not allowed to flirt and date and choose their own life partners. Forced weddings, honor killings and domestic violence is rampant in our communities and it all begins from a joke- an innocent looking, sexist, demeaning joke!
4- Fourthly, the character of BUA is funny but in a very demeaning way. Don’t get me wrong. I have seen and loved Upasana Singh from the movies and her comedy is always flawless. I specially loved her role in Andaaz- Priyanka Chopra stared movie. And she is doing a great job in this role as well. But the role itself is portrayed as that of a desperate to get married spinster.
Single women in our society already have their plateful with their own struggles. But families watching this and society subconsciously getting this idea that single women are desperate and worthless- is way more damaging and actually a huge obstacle to the advancement of women in India. Read my post Why Are Single Independent Indian Women An Eye Blister For Their Families?
I totally agree with Kiran’s take on how much impact these TV shows and entertainment have on our way of thinking and living.
Hence I stopped watching Comedy Nights With Kapil as soon as I got annoyed and realized these are patriarchal jokes mocking women wrapped in a new cover with different faces.
Would it shock you if I tell you that when I want to watch and enjoy some real comedy stuff, I watch
Ye jo hai zindagi (1980s)
and most recent ones Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls and The Mindy Project. Although have raunchy, edgy comedy but still not sexist, racist or demeaning to women. The latter two, both actually have women in the main lead. Try them out.
From some of the comments on Kiran’s post, I can see why people try to say things like “lighten up” or “it’s just an innocent joke” or “Kapil also gets mocked at” etc.
This is a very common reaction from PEOPLE WITH PRIVILEGE. In pure psychological or psycho-social terms, its called A BLIND SPOT!
It’s a situation when you cannot see your own biases because you may be standing in a privileged position. Look at this for example:
Yes Bittoo Sharma gets mocked at but NOT for his gender or marital status. And mostly by the end of show, he gets his fame status back.
May be this will help:
Good luck and if you watch Comedy Nights With Kapil….. I feel sorry for your sense of humour and as Kiran said- it’s more like PATRIARCHY NIGHTS WITH KAPIL!