AIB Failure Story - What Led to the Fall of Most Popular Comedy Group | The Complete Story of AIB

Harshit Verma Harshit Verma
Dec 21, 2021 8 min read
AIB Failure Story - What Led to the Fall of Most Popular Comedy Group | The Complete Story of AIB

Why do we love entertainment? Have you ever thought about this? well, you don't have to, because you are probably busy entertaining yourself. Entertainment is one of the most crucial art forms that humans have experienced from time immemorial. And now in the 21st century, the entertainment sector is one of the biggest sectors to get a boost with the rise in the internet. As the entertainment sector scales heights, it will help creators and entertainers to a nice extent. One of the hot platforms is the all-time best, YouTube.

There are only a few famous comedy groups on Indian Youtube, one of them is the 'All India Bakchod'. Often abbreviated as AIB. All India Bakchod, the comedy group has seen everything, from millions of views and many violations of societal stereotypes. The company or the comedy group came to a halt in the year 2019. This article is about them and the story behind the dormancy of the company in 2019. All the complaints and violations that they faced and where they are now, read on to find out. We will go a chill memory down the line on how AIB went from a high place in entertainment to a dormant company waiting to slowly just die read on to find out.

What is AIB (All India Bakchod)?
AIB’s Timeline
The Reason for the Shutdown of AIB
Future of AIB

What is AIB (All India Bakchod)?

All India Bakchod was a comedy group, which was based out of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The state can be abbreviated as the entertainment hub of India. They used to make parodies, satires, skits and many more sorts of content on their youtube channel and they also had a podcast (The AIB podcast). The name itself is a parody of ‘All India Radio’.

The podcast was the first face of how the AIB operated. The podcast was focused to produce satirical content on Indian society and how people of India generally behave. It used to get some views back then but they rechanged it and focussed on Youtube and live comedy shows.

Later, as time went the podcast and the comedy group grew a little popularity. It was started by comedians Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba, later they were joined by two more comedians named Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya. These four were the lead in maintaining and making films on the sets of AIB.

AIB Group - Gursimran Khamba, Tanmay Bhat, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya
AIB Group - Gursimran Khamba, Tanmay Bhat, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya

After making parodies and satires for their Youtube audience, they soon formed a digital agency that produced sketches, live comedy and even T.V. shows.

In the year 2018, around October, the company halted all its operations all of a sudden. However, the individual comedians continued to do whatever shows they were offered. What went wrong and why did they have to arrive at such an unexpected turn. Let us find out by first understanding the timeline of their work.

AIB’s Timeline

2013

The comedy group started making sketches and parodies and uploading them on YouTube in 2013. Before that, it operated with the sole purpose of and as a podcast. In April 2013, they made a spoof of Bollywood award shows and replayed it for a year. Later in the month of September 2013, one of their sketches named “It’s your fault” went viral and people loved it online.

They performed stand up shows, sketches and all sorts of lives. They also collaborated with brands to produce engaging content. Then they thought of doing something new and tried to experiment with celebrity roast. This was not new for the world but for India, it was something super new and probably never seen before.

2014

In December 2014, they did a live show called the “All India Bakchod Knockout”. The knockout was a celebrity roast performed at NSCI Dome in Worli. The host was a famous Bollywood director Karan Johar with AIB members. The roast had stars like Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. The video was uploaded on Youtube. It went on to fire up a huge controversy.

Social activists filed FIRs on everyone who attended the roast. It was removed from the channel later due to a widespread public backlash. AIB apologised and explained their decision -

First things first; no one person or force forced us to take this video down. This is not something that's happening because of a 3 am a phone call or morcha (‘protest’ in English) at our front door or a gunman on a grassy knoll. Under the circumstances, this is us being pragmatic. - AIB’s official response

2016

After a year when this backlash happened, they were again on the page where people loved them for their comedy content. They started an advertising agency named ‘Vigyapanti’ in 2016 and that went immensely successful in its endeavours. Later they also launched a writer’s School called “First Draft”.

2017

Time went by and they had had successful collaborations up till 2017. It wasn’t that they had a smooth ride, there were potholes too. Multiple FIRs were filed against almost every member of AIB but it felt as the controversies were helping them get more fame.

2018

Soon after so many engaging videos and collaborations on their Youtube channel, something happened that shook the world and of course the AIB group. The #Metoo movement across the world shook the behemoths of the entertainment industry.

The Reason for the Shutdown of AIB

AIB had everything: a bright future, hard work and an established body of work. They had collaborations with big companies, Amazon, Hotstar, and Swiggy. They published podcasts with celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Then came the blow.

On Oct 4, 2018, Mahima Kukreja (Writer, comedian) posted a Twitter thread accusing Utsav Chakraborty (Former AIB member) of sending her unsolicited explicit images and harassing her and others at the workplace. She also mentioned that she had earlier informed Tanmay about this and other leads at the AIB but nothing happened.

Mahima Kukreja Tweet
Mahima Kukreja Tweet

This was the genesis, the beginning of what we know today as the #Metoo movement in India after the world had seen its ugly side.

Chakraborty refused everything that he was accused of and called all the allegations fabricated. Later he apologised and then AIB apologised too.

As Bhat himself pointed out, perhaps the biggest shock and disappointment for AIB fans was that the comedy group had consistently put out content championing feminism, critiquing oppressive structures, and speaking truth to power.

“Some time after Utsav had stopped being an AIB employee, Tanmay Bhat received specific, detailed allegations about him in a private and personal conversation. Tanmay confronted Utsav in a personal capacity – which led to Utsav calling the victim, leading to further harassment,” the 5 October 2018 statement read.
“We made a big mistake. We should have cut all ties immediately.”

After the failure of action of Tanmay, he was asked to immediately step down from being a CEO. He was removed as a judge from Amazon’s Comicstaan and a show “On Air with AIB” that AIB hosted was also shut down abruptly.

Most of the comedians within his circle, including Kunal Kamra and Tanmay Bhat, knew about his habit of harassing underage girls but opted to keep quiet and work with him.

When all of this was happening, one more blow came to AIB. An anonymous complaint was submitted by someone against Gursimran Khamba, one of the founding members of All India Bakchod. It accused Khamba of mistreating her twice sexually and that the harassment continued for 5 months, which included drunk calls, and emotional blackmails. Khamba replied saying that he knows the person who has accused him and he did hook up with her, but consensually. He might have misbehaved a little but he is sorry for that misbehaviour. He was fired later.

He said in a statement that,

“I am aware of the person who’s stated the incident in 2015 we had hooked up consensually multiple times. But I categorically deny the incident mentioned in October and December. I was not forceful.”
He further said, “It is true that I developed feelings for her while she was dating someone else. During that time given our friendship and history I felt rejected and was angry and did not behave appropriately at all. It had become a toxic relationship and I’d like to apologise unconditionally for it like I had done in the past. That behaviour was extremely uncalled for. She rightly stopped talking to me.”

On another account of sexual harassment allegation against Utsav Chakraborty (previously associated with AIB), Mahima Kukreja admitted Tanmay Bhat was confided of the truth but kept mum on the issue. Condemning the allegations, AIB has released a statement that CEO Tanmay Bhat has stepped away from the role while Khamba will take a temporary leave of absence until the matter is sorted. Vidhi Jotwani, Head of Human Resources at AIB commented that,

Tanmay’s role in both the cases cannot be overlooked and hence will be stepping away from the company. Truthfully, we do not know what this means for the future of AIB or whether there is one.

AIB was eventually dropped from multiple projects, including one in Hotstar, which had also been cancelled. The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) had also cancelled AIB’s project from its line-up.

After these major backlashes, AIB went dormant and was formally announced by a series of Twitter posts. Tanmay retweeted the update and his conclusion. It was announced that “The AIB youtube channel is for all intents and purposes, dead for the foreseeable future”.

Future of AIB

“I realise that in the past, I have failed to live up to ideals that I have propagated myself, and my resolve is to ensure that this never happens again,” Tanmay wrote.

As Bhat himself pointed out, perhaps the biggest shock and disappointment for AIB fans was that the comedy group had consistently put out content championing feminism, critiquing oppressive structures, and speaking truth to power.

The company has no office, no money, no CEO, and barely any employees. They can't legally shut down the company because there are shareholders and investors in place. It is also noted that they are not individually liable but the company is liable and there will be their own legalities on that basis too. So they cannot close the company chapter, it will remain open.

In the future, we cannot expect any sort of content from All India Bakchod. But for its about 4 million Youtube subscribers, the AIB only had to offer this: “If and when we decide to release new content on the channel (e.g. stand-up clips), you will be the first to know.” that ‘IF’ is going to be a long time and it is safe to believe that AIB is dead in all its forms and features.

Conclusion

All India Bakchod was one of the most bright comedy groups in India. It catered to every Indian on topics that they will find themselves related to and connected to. However, the series of events unfolded badly and the spiral went out of control from the hands of AIB’s leaders. It shows a lack of responsibility that Tanmay himself apologised for.

There is a clear evident face of Irony in the story above. All India Bakchod covered itself in pride when they talked about their content. That content promoted and propagated free speech, women’s rights, and freedom of expression. Such a bright company fell into the pit that they themselves dug. Tanmay was fired from the board, Gurusimran was also removed from the team, the whole group went ruckus and scattered into pieces. This tussle made AIB lovers sad and the group went on an indefinite hiatus. All of these events tell us that entertainment can be a serious business.

FAQs

Why did AIB shut down?

The reason AIB went down drastically was because of the Metoo controversy that involved Utsav Chakravarty, one of the members of AIB.

Why was Tanmay removed from Comicstaan?

Due to allegations of inaction against sexual harassment, Tanmay Bhat was removed from Comicstaan season 2 on 14 November 2018.

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