Sandip Chettri, who is a well-established comedian in Nepal, has been running the show, “What the Flop?” on Kantipur Television. He uses mimicry as a tool to entertain people and often disrespects people publicly and provokes sensitive identity issues. Sandip Chhetri’s Mithai Lal Jyadav character on the show typically targets the identity of Madhesis, their accent and their skin color as a central topic of humor.
Ramesh Ranjan Jha, Madhesi actor says “Just wearing black makeup, dhoti-kurta and using the southern accent doesn’t make a character Madhesi. Even when done in good humour, it feels humiliating,” Chhetri has time and again portrayed Madhesi stereotypes for laughs and in one of his shows, his character says, “Hami ka kalo cha, hami ta kaaaaaaaloh cha,” (I am not just black, I am very black).
Srizu Bajracharya, writes [The Kathmandu Post (Sep 1, 2019)] that, “Globally, and particularly in the United States, blackface is considered racist and offensive. Its origins date back to 19th century America, where theatre performers coloured their faces in black for comedy skits to portray demeaning caricatures of African-Americans to make people laugh. Blackface has long been considered extremely offensive, and in recent years, it has even cost some people their jobs.”
On June 15, 2020, Chhetri’s character Mithai Lal performed the character of Madhesi woman on the same show from Kantipur Television and portrayed a stereotype image of a woman from Madhesh on a very sensitive political issue regarding Naturalised Citizenship. Many women activists considered this as a political propaganda paired with its usual dose of offensive portrayal against Madhesi women by Kantipur Television and comedian Sandip Chhetri. Reacting on the news that was aired from a national television Kantipur TV, Reshu Aryal on (July 7 at 8:04 PM) writes on her Facebook status, “ Sandip Chhetri is a racist and a bigot. Shame on Kantipur Television for continuing to allow him his racist tirades in your airtime. Until you cancel his programming, we assume that Kantipur TV HD approves. No disclaimer will protect you condoning the "creativity" of racists.”
On July 7, 2020, the youths of Biratnagar and Birgunj lodged a complaint in Mahanagariya Prahari Parisar, Teku (including the
(https://www.yeklo.com/post/4851) as an evidence which was published on June 15, 2020 ) under section 65 (1) of the Civil Crime Code, 2074, action has been demanded against the presenters and producers of televisions who broadcast material that stereotypes and degrades Madhesi women. A complaint has been lodged against Sandip Chettri, Kantipur Television along with Editor Prasant Aryal, Program Coordinator Suresh Singh Thakuri and Kantipur Group. Aashu Kumar Sarraf, Amita Sharma, Anita Sah, Ashok Kushwaha, Brij Kishore Prasad Chaudhary, Harendra Patel, Kisan Sarraf, Laalbabu Singh, Nisha Gupta, Om Kumar Jha, Om Prakash Sarraf and Shyam Sarraf have lodged the complaint. Likewise, On July 9, Dr. Sharad Singh Yadav filed a petition in the Press Council demanding action to ban the TV show and proceed for legal action to Sandip Chettri for his presentation (on the Kantipur TV through What the Flop show) that has been humiliating and hurting the feelings of the Madhesi community for a long time.[सन्दीप क्षेत्री विरुद्ध उजुरी
What does it mean for my society as the representative of the Madhesh community? As a member of the Madhesi community, which has historically experienced oppression and discrimination, seeing Sandip Chhetri-like actors perpetuate racial stereotypes and hurting an entire community through What-the-Flop-like programs is absolutely heartbreaking. Despite the constitutional guarantees of equality and just treatment of all communities and individuals, prejudice and age-old social practices continue to discriminate and exploit marginalised groups and people. Against this backdrop, therefore, actors, influencers, leaders, and activists should all come together to create a just and equitable society. Sandip Chhetri, his program What the Flop and Kantipur Media that provides the platform for the comedian’s program, however, are all complicit in doing exactly the opposite--perpetuating racism and inequality.