Abijit Ganguly – the unaware Santa of Kapil Sharma’s show

Abijit Ganguly is a hero for calling out the television-biggy Comedy Nights with Kapil for lifting his joke. He is also a sport for laughing while responding to the barrage of explicits from Kapil Sharma fans and plagiarism-apologists for doing exactly this.

Here is what the one time corporate guy and now full time, and very popular, stand-up comedian has to say about the controversy, the entire point of which seems to have flown over the head of most people –

Let’s break the myth about imitation being the best form of flattery. Is it?
“See, ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’ is probably applicable when a kid is sitting at home doing my act in front of his family. If that were to happen, I’ll be really touched and probably even hug the kid (of course with his/her parents’ consent).
But for an artist, whose work is being stolen by a bigger name that too on national television, that’s pretty much stealing. Honestly, in that case I think the best form of flattery would be ‘flattery’.
If you compliment a person, he’ll be happy, if you steal from a person, probably not so much. Using an artist’s original content without their consent is just as unacceptable as say, using a presentation someone else has slogged over as their own in a corporate setting. We have to understand that this how I earn a living, and definitely not a matter of “just a joke” being lifted.”

Have you thought about protecting your work with copyright laws?
“Unfortunately, the awareness about copyright is very less in our country. The fact is that the moment you upload something on YouTube, it technically becomes protected by copyright. In fact, you don’t even have to upload on a technological medium – as long as the original source of content is traceable, the case of intellectual ownership is established.
Having said this, and in spite of suggestions of many, I do not wish to pursue a legal battle, given that I’m a middle-class man with limited time and financial resources. Also, I’m already facing so much hate for speaking up against plagiarism of something that is actually mine, God knows what would be in store for me were I to go the legal way.”

Personally are you a fan of the kind of comedy Kapil Sharma is known for?
“Well, I’ve never really watched his show, so can’t comment on that. I understand there are lot of people who like that form of humour and I respect that. But to be quite honest, it’s not for me.”

Given an opportunity would you do a television show as well?
“If there is creative freedom, then of course. Why most of us Stand-up comics love what we do (live show formats) is because we have the creative freedom to talk about any major issue – politics, religion, sexism and express our opinions on them. One is not bound by any dictat of what their content can and cannot contain. Unfortunately, I don’t really see any comedian getting that sort of creative liberty on national television anytime soon.”

Has the team from Comedy Night with Kapil extended an apology yet?
“Nope, nothing till now. The only thing I’ve heard till now is a statement from Kiku Sharda which I saw in newspaper, which basically stated that they never claimed of not using WhatsApp and YouTube jokes, and that they never bother to verify the authenticity of the material their writers furnish. I didn’t even know how to react post reading that. I mean how do even think of explaining the fundamentals of intellectual copyright to someone who’d say that. I’m not saying that the Kapil Sharma’s and Kiku Sharda’s themselves must’ve seen my video and lifted the joke, but at least there needs to be a top down directive to their show’s writers of not lifting content and writing original.”

Did you see an increase in the popularity of the routine after it was lifted?
“Hardly. My bit on YouTube had already garnered substantial views before the news of plagiarism broke out, and the increase in the views was very insignificant. In fact, I would say the only people who viewed the video post the controversy were the Kapilians (Kapil Sharma fans, that’s what they call themselves) with an intent to shower abuses and drop cuss words.
But on Social Media front, it indeed has been a little crazy. I lot a got of support from many, and online abuse from more. Some of the online abuse was very creative as well, and I just vented my frustration out my baking a stand-up bit about that too.”

What would you suggest Sidhu focus on instead of laughing at plagiarised jokes?
“Well, anything I’d say on to him would be considered a potshot but if I were to really offer a suggestion to Navjot Singh Sidhu, then considering the fact that he is an MLA – one thing he could focus on instead is probably serving the public of his constituency!”

What message do you wish to give to Kapilians?
“Just this that my joke got lifted, and I simply put out a Facebook post about it with no idea what it would lead to. And now I’m getting all the hate and publicity accusations. It’s the same old victim blaming story that we’ve seen time and again. For the first time in life, I know what it feels like to be a girl.”
P.S.: Since people are associating Abijit with primarily the “elder brother” joke of late, sample a different, super funny act of his for a change of palate:

-by Zaiceka Ahmed

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