India

India comedian in trouble over video 'mocking' Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar gestures at an event Image copyright AFP
Image caption Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has a massive fan following in India

An Indian comedian is being investigated by police after posting a video mocking cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and singer Lata Mangeshkar.

Tanmay Bhat had used Snapchat's face swap feature to stage an argument between the two Indian icons.

Hindu nationalist parties Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have complained to police, demanding action.

Mumbai police said they are seeking legal opinion on pressing charges but did not specify on what grounds.

In the video, Bhat posing as Tendulkar says that Lata Mangeshkar is "5,000-years old" and that her face "looks like it has been kept in water for eight days".

The reactions to the video have also set off a debate on social media.

Tanmay Bhat's name has been the top trending topic on Twitter India for most of Monday, with social media users sharply divided over whether Bhat's video had "crossed the line" in terms of free speech.

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Bhat clearly anticipated the backlash to the video even while publishing it, doing so with a tweet request: "When you guys write about me tomorrow can you please use my snapchat ID - it's thetanmay thanks."

He later tweeted at snapchat, asking them to "please pay me".

Indians are extremely sensitive about insults to popular national icons.

Last year, British Airways was forced to issue an apology after a huge social media backlash for tweeting at Tendulkar asking him for his full name.

In 2014, tennis player Maria Sharapova was also pilloried on social media by Indians after she admitted that she had no idea who Tendulkar was.

Apart from lodging police complaints, a leader from the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party wrote to the chief minister of the western state of Maharashtra complaining about Bhat's "deranged mentality".

Tanmay Bhat is a part of Indian comedy group All India Bhakchod (AIB) which was also forced to take off a "roast show" from YouTube after an intense row over its contents on social media.

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