The year 1983 saw the release of a movie that continues to set the benchmark for satire in Hindi cinema: Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. A masterful comedy, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro used humour and a tale of two unlikely heroes to take potshots at corruption in the local government, the media, and the real-estate sector.
While Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro garnered a cult following over the years, it is another movie from 1983, the benign comedy Kissi Se Na Kehna, which has recently been plucked out of relative obscurity and thrust into the limelight for reasons few could have foreseen.
On June 27, the Delhi Police arrested fact-checker Mohammed Zubair of AltNews website. Days earlier on June 19, a solitary tweet by an anonymous Twitter handle tagged the Delhi Police seeking action against Zubair.
The complainant had taken issue with a tweet by Zubair in 2018 of a picture of a placard where “Honeymoon Hotel” written in Hindi had been tweaked with paint to read “Hanuman Hotel”. This, the complainant claimed, was a “direct insult of Hindus”.
The Delhi Police acted with admirable alacrity and arrested Zubair within days of receiving the anonymous tip-off. The police invoked Indian Penal Code Section 295A, under offences relating to religion, for “deliberate and malicious” acts to outrage or insult…