Opinion: The Shweta Tiwari ‘bhagwan’ controversy episode: Those Offended Assemble

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There are only two things ruling the social media world currently. Outrage and more outrage. The sheer amount of anger expressed on social media, on an average, makes me wonder if that is all left to feel. I am pretty sure the word ‘outrage’ might be ‘offended’ by itself by now looking at the volume of armchair activism on social media. The fact that I have already used the word ‘outrage’ thrice in a less than 100 words paragraph is prove enough that this is me taking offence, of the those offended, and expressing my outrage over it. Lets go!

Shweta Tiwari, a popular face on Indian Television, found herself in a middle of a controversy after a statement she made during the promotion of her upcoming web show ‘Show Stopper.’ Firstly, I think Shweta Tiwari should have been prepared for it given they had Sourabh, known for playing home run deity, play a ‘bra-fitter’. In a country which thrives on machoism and faux feminism, and considers discussing women lingerie a taboo, the character in itself screams controversy. Chalo, no worries, those who always seek reasons to get offended have got one now.

To put things in context, Shweta Tiwari, during a press conference, was seated beside her co-star Saurabh Raj Jain, who is best known for playing ‘Bhagwan’ in most of his shows. When a media person asked, “Bhagwan ka roop aap kitne baar apna chuke hai,” Shweta interrupted saying, “Bhagwan se seddha bra-fitter“. In both cases, the reference has been on the characters portrayed as against what it is construed to be. Again ‘Meri bra ki size Bhagwan le raha hai,’ is a clear reference to Sourabh bring addressed as ‘Bhagwan’. Now,b that is clear?

 

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A post shared by Shweta Tiwari (@shweta.tiwari)

As I write this, I am reminded of a Vir Das act I recently watched where the comedian refers to how our Gods have a good sense of humour, it is WE who don’t. The Shweta Tiwari episode is a classic example of it. To Vir’s credit though his stand-up acts are political in nature, so bigots targeting him is not surprising but disappointing. However, with Shweta, it is none. Her statement was neither political nor targeting any religion. It is simply waste of energy and task Force to file an FIR and take action over something dismissive.

When I discussed this with a fellow friend, they said, ‘This is India, and they are actors, they should be careful of what they say.’ Correct. However, encouraging bigotry isn’t. This ‘offence’ and ‘cancel’ culture has seriously denting our freedom of speech.

 

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A post shared by Shweta Tiwari (@shweta.tiwari)

Now, I want to ask the troll brigades and those who leave no chance to express outrage over such things, did you bother to know the context or the intention behind the said lines? What line is particular when heard in context seems offensive? If you really have to take offence, it should be about how an actor is continuously been referred to by the character he has played before. He is an actor, he can play a deity as good as he can probably play a local bra-fitter. Why box them? Why limit them or judge them for wanting to be versatile.

What really can be considered offensive is that Shweta continues to receive FIRs and threats on social media over such statements. What is really offensive is that the armchair activist actually do nothing to safeguard the interest of needy, or oppressed. What really is offensive is that we have more time to outrage over trivial things but not over things that matters. Just FYI. While you were outraging over this, a new corona variant has been discovered in some part of the world, all eyes are on Budget 2022 and we continue to live in a pandemic.

But, by all means, please continue the outrage!

Also Read: Shweta Tiwari issues a statement after her statement on ‘Bhagwan’ stirs a controversy