Comedy collective All India Bakchod has been playing it relatively safe these past few months, having been catapulted to national infamy after their roast of actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor became controversial earlier this year. They've been releasing videos (such as this one and this one) every now and then, but haven't really pulled out the big guns in a while.
Until now, at least.
Super excited to announce our latest project. Our most ambitious one yet. Here's a sneak peek: https://t.co/7tB6h88y6x— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) September 15, 2015
The four comedians will appear on a news comedy TV series called On Air With AIB, which, according to an emailed press release, promises to "cover themes of national and local interest". The show will have 20 episodes — 10 in Hindi and 10 in English — and will release exclusively on Hotstar followed by weekend airings on Star Plus and Star World. Modelled along the lines of Last Week Tonight featuring John Oliver and (the erstwhile) The Daily Show featuring Jon Stewart, On Air With AIB will begin airing in October.
AIB's co-founder Tanmay Bhat told HuffPost India over a phone conversation that the show has been in the works for the past "3-4 months". "If you look at the news, it's full of stuff that makes you so angry that sometimes you have no choice but to laugh at it," he said. "There are so many things that happen in our country that are both hilarious and extremely sad, at the same time. That, to me, is the vibe of our show."
The comedy collective enjoys a strong, loyal fan-following and is currently the most-subscribed Indian channel on YouTube. On Air is a significant step for them in terms of reaching new audiences not just because it will only be available on Hotstar ("We might put up some promos or snippets on YouTube, but let's see," says Bhat), but it will also be the first time that their content will be appearing on TV.
Will it, therefore, be a much more watered-down version of the AIB we're used to seeing? Bhat says no. "If anything, it's even riskier [than the roast] to make fun of the news in this country, that too on a mainstream TV channel," he said, adding that the show is still being written so he can't comment yet on whether the version appearing on TV would be censored to be made palatable to a wider audience.
Watch the promo for On Air above.