Comedy group All India Bakchod has built a strong image for itself over the years – liberal, original and feminist.
But how feminist is the comedy crew – primarily comprised men – really?
AIB ex-employee Aayushi Jagad, and Sumedh, who featured in one of their sketches, released a video on Wednesday where they broke down just how AIB ‘uses’ feminism, and questioned whether its content was token feminist for the most part.
The duo pointed out in most of their videos which were not women-centric or specifically feminist sketches (like the ‘Bollywood Diva Song’ featuring Kangana Ranaut or ‘It's Your Fault’ featuring Kalki Koechlin), the role women are assigned mirror the kind of roles women are given in other popular media – stereotypical or dispensable.
They also pointed out how some of their most popular sketches are gendered with male characters, when those could have also been played by women.
“It almost seems like in the AIB writers room, women exist in their own planet. As feminists or in feminist women sketches. Or they don’t exist at all,” Aayushi says. She adds that women characters in AIB videos are either portrayed as feminists or are mere plot devices.
They also put the AIB videos through the Bechdel test – which sees if there are two women characters in a movie or video, and when women interact, if they speak of something other than men. The Bechdel test is popularly used to depict gender inequality in media.
They found that only two AIB sketches (If Apps were People 1 and 2), other than the sketches geared specifically to and for women, passed this test.
Aayushi argues then that it would be awesome if women in AIB sketches played the same characters as men – doctors or engineers – and say the same thing as men do.
The video had many other insights. Watch it here.
The most refreshing part in the aftermath of the video, which was of course plagued in the comments section by many naysayers, was AIB’s response.
The comedy group commented on the video on YouTube, owning up to everything Aayushi and Sumedh pointed out. They called the video “superb” and “well argued”, and even thanked them for calling them out.
See their full response here.