Here's a look at the funny and creative world of spoof-makers
Who doesn't need a dash of humour in life? A burgeoning breed of netizens seems to have taken the saying "laughter is the best medicine" seriously — and thankfully so. The ever-expanding reach of social networking and video sharing websites has given birth to countless spoofing and parody groups which take up a contemporary issue and give it a comic spin. They are not bound by any manifesto; their sole intention is manifestation of their creativity. hitlist introduces you to the creative mechanics who keep the spoof machine well-oiled...
A parody of Dhoom 3 by Shudh Desi Endings
The recent My Choice campaign featuring Deepika Padukone, which sought respect for women and their choices, went viral and received a mixed response. Within a few days of that came a spoof called Vague: Manpower" that asked the fairer sex to acknowledge men's 'choices' too. The video ended with this: "Respect Men and Women. We do not support cheating or adultery."
Stand-up comedian Sorabh Pant
Rahul daCunha, the man behind the Amul advertisements for the past 22 years, also came up with a satirical My Choice poster taking dig at the actress. He says: "I have been checking online for some of the spoofs made on the My Choice campaign, but nothing seemed very appealing to me. I wish the AIB (All India Bakchod) guys had made a spoof."
A comic illustration of veteran actor Alok Nath
The adman has been a fan of AIB since their inception, but he was rather saddened by the flak that they faced for organising the roast of Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. Since celebrities and fans of different ages had garnished the roast with their varied opinions, do humour levels vary for different age groups? "I don't understand why Aamir Khan and others had to poke their nose into something that they were not a part of, but I definitely do not think age has anything to do with the current brand of humour. Not that I found every bit of the roast funny, but that doesn't have anything to do with my age. Rather, it is the way a Western idea gets interpreted in our country. That is where the finer details get distorted," he points out.
A still from Vague:Manpower which took a dig at Deepika Padukone's My Choice video
An alternative take
One would imagine that it is only to their creativity that these entertainers are enslaved, but there is a group of armchair critics who suffer from xenophobia — the same guys who speak out of turn while some of us are just enjoying a good laugh. Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO and co-founder of Culture Machine, says, "A spoof, inherently, is just an alternate take on a hot topic. The spoofer has no control over the interpretation of his/her take."
Shah Rukh Khan on The Viral Fever (TVF) YouTube channel during an interview
Recalling his team's efforts in coming up with a spoof on Deepika's My Choice video pilot, he further augmented his earlier thought by adding: "While the original video speaks about the choices of women, our video speaks about the choices of men."
From left: Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar and Arjun Kapoor featured in the controversial AIB Knockout
A credible member of East India Comedy, Sapan Verma feels there isn't any competition among online entertainers. "It isn't there, not in the real sense of the term, not like what one sees between Apple and Samsung, which is literally a war. However, if there is any, it is all in good health," he says, adding that it is premature to label the flourishing breed of spoofers as an industry.
He elaborates that one has to wait a little more than four years for online celebrities to compete with each other. "We are still a very small industry so there is no scope for competition. In fact, at the moment we are working as a team to blinker people's attention to this brand of comedy," he suggests.
Deepika Padukone's My Choice video received a mixed response
Bring on the comedy
Verma acknowledges the fact that YouTube is a blessing in disguise, something that has made it easier to gather an audience for his stand-up gigs.
Rahul Dacunha, theatre director and ad man
On the other hand, Sorabh Pant, the founding member of East India Comedy, juggled a series of demeanours, from existentialist to anarchist, in answering where he would be without YouTube. He says, "I don't know. You really hate comedians, don't you? Maybe, I would just be on the road, doing stand-up shows. I think I would start my own website like YouTube to promote comedians."
Sapan Verma, Stand-up comedian
Talking about compromising on humour when entertaining an Indian audience, Anand Doshi, co-founder of Shudh Desi Endings, says: "While making spoofs we try to take care that we don't hurt anyone's sentiments. At the same time, we don't want to miss out on any jokes as well. Very often, there is a thin line between the two. We try to be on the line as much as possible."