Election Spoofs, Fake News, Political Satire Flourishing in IndiaPosted: April 22, 2014
Political ass-kicking in India: Spoofs on the internet and TV
Jay Mazoomdaar writes: For a people not known to take themselves lightly, a surprising number of Indians are laughing their way to the general election.
A generous dose of irreverent political humour is now competing with shrill campaign rhetoric, thanks to a new crop of satirists.
The genre is not new in India – there is a rich tradition of cartoons in newspapers – but the appetite for political satire is.
CNN-IBN‘s spoof show – The Week That Wasn’t, starring Cyrus Broacha – was popular long before the last general elections in 2009, and Hindi show Pol Khol (Expose) by Shekhar Suman on Star News became a hit during the 2004 elections.
“Our shows have increased the appetite for humour in India,” says Mr Broacha.
“Remember Mel Brooks playing Hitler? It is all about touching the untouchable, the demi-gods and demons of politics. We helped open the door and now you have so many spoofs, particularly on the internet.”
The response is overwhelming.
Nayak 2 by AIB attracted well over three million hits on YouTube in just over two months.
In it, actor Alok Nath, a ridiculously righteous father figure in TV soaps and Bollywood films, helps create the political persona of former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal – a broom-wielding, muffler-sporting, “gareeb-max” (ultra poor) leader of “aam aadmi” (the common man).
Mr Kejriwal is also the favourite target of TVF’s Qtiyapa. In a spoof watched by over three million viewers since February, the former Delhi chief minister fights for honesty in Bollywood, complaining that a film called Ship of Theseus, an allegorical take on organ donation, did not feature a single boat.
In a recent episode of his show, Mr Broacha makes fun of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi‘s first-ever TV interview, where he repeated the phrases “RTI (right to information)”, “systemic change” and “women’s empowerment” several times.
Asked “how many Congressmen does it take to change a light bulb”, the fake Rahul wonders poker-faced if the light indeed goes off when the fridge door is closed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s Facebook LookBack video by The UnReal Times has been watched nearly half a million times on YouTube in less than two months. Their Rahul.One – The Next Level: 2014, a super-hero movie trailer featuring Rahul Gandhi and his mentor Digvijay Singh – is another big draw……(read more)
Jay Mazoomdaar is an independent Delhi-based journalist
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