Three Mumbaikars 'cast' top traffic hooligans as 'stars' of their series

Web show by Andheri residents captures traffic offenders breaking the rules and offering lame excuses; aim is to make them mend their ways

Aditya Singh and Krishan Khatra questions a truck driver who left his vehicle parked on Link Road in Goregaon this morning. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Aditya Singh and Krishan Khatra questions a truck driver who left his vehicle parked on Link Road in Goregaon this morning. Pic/Bipin Kokate

You can run, but you can't hide... from Mamoo Patrol. Three friends from Andheri have banded together to nail traffic offenders and “confront the lack of civic sense” on the roads through non-confrontational candid videos. The videos, shot for web series Mamoo Patrol, are a cheeky hat tip to our notorious propensity for breaching traffic norms and tolerance of such flippant offenders.

The group, which has uploaded two videos on its YouTube channel and Facebook page since September 29 -- both titled Slang -- has been inspired by Russian non-profit organisation StopHam (Stop a Douchebag), which opposes traffic rule violations and arrogance on the road.

A young man justifies taking the wrong lane to park his bike
A young man justifies taking the wrong lane to park his bike

“It’s simple. We want to make traffic offenders realise that their actions lead to traffic jams and inconvenience others. Just like any other motorist or pedestrian, we, too, have suffered at the hands of such reckless offenders,” says Aditya Singh (31), group member and filmmaker, who had worked in oil rigs prior to launching this initiative.

Singh is accompanied by friends Krishan Khatra (31), a theatre artiste and model, and writer Anvita Sudarshan, who handles the project’s social media content.

An autorickshaw driver cries, “But I only went for lunch!” on being questioned why he had parked on the road
An autorickshaw driver cries, “But I only went for lunch!” on being questioned why he had parked on the road

“We took almost a month to produce the content and get it ready for social network platforms,” says Sudarshan.

The cautious approach paid off. The videos have in total racked up 12,225 views — and counting — in the two weeks since the launch, and are being rapidly ‘shared’.

Target areas
Armed with a basic videocam, Singh and Khatra hit the streets of Malad West, Goregaon West, Oshiwara, Andheri West and Bandra West, where they assumed traffic would be a mess, regardless of the time of the day, in the first week of September.

Despite being prepared for the worst, offenders’ attitude — flippant at most times, and menacing sometimes — rankled them.

A tempo driver takes a break in the middle of the road
A tempo driver takes a break in the middle of the road

Blustering, blithering
The first video, 9.38 minutes long and uploaded on September 29, features barely contrite bikers, autorickshaw drivers and four-wheeler drivers casually breaking the rules and offering frivolous reasons to justify their actions. There’s a biker who’s stopped while going the wrong way. He starts arguing with Singh and Khatra (who remain behind the camera), saying the route was shorter and that he would continue to break the rules in future, too.

Another section of the video shows an autorickshaw driver leaving his vehicle parked in the middle of the road. On being questioned about it, all he does is smile sheepishly and say he had stopped by for lunch. Coincidentally, the same driver is caught again later for double parking. The errant driver’s grouse at this point: that Singh and Khatra are badgering him, and no allowing him to have his lunch in peace.

The second video, which runs into 6.27 minutes and uploaded on October 9, nails school bus drivers who repeatedly honk, even when on a jampacked road.

“What are we teaching schoolchildren? Children learn it’s okay to break traffic rules if they see their bus drivers or parents doing the same,” says Khatra.

Bruised egos
Both Singh and Khatra have been cautious not to sound even remotely intimidating or use abusive/derogatory language, if even the offenders turns aggressive. “There were times when a person became violent, grabbed the camera and caught us by the collar. But we refrain from doing the same. Else, the purpose of the project would be ruined,” explains Singh.

The group says most people caught on camera felt challenged and responded with “arrogance”, despite knowing fully well that they were in the wrong.

The friends have 25-30 hours of footage with him, and are splitting it into shorter videos with English subtitles.

The third video is expected go online soon; post-production work is nearly over. Plans for a fourth are on the anvil.

The group is hoping that the web series would attract volunteers to shoot more such videos. “We are not monetising the project in any way and there is no advertisement. The aim is simply make people aware of their offences and change their ways,” says Sudarshan.

The group is also seeking the support of government bodies like the traffic police and regional transport offices to strengthen its mission with more stringent penalties. The fine for most minor traffic offences is a mere R100.

The three friends, who made Mumbai their home nearly a decade ago, point out that they don’t want to dubbed vigilantes, but, instead, show Mumbaikars that toeing the line individually can have a huge impact on the bigger picture.

27L
No. of vehicles on Mumabi’s roads

15L
No. of two-wheelers

1,800
Mumbai’s road network (in sqkm)

Many a slip...

Besides traffic offences, Mamoo Patrol captures litterbugs — motorists flinging objects from their vehicles — and spitters. In the videos, some of the sheepish people who use roads as a big dumpyard have gone to the extent of claiming that the objects “slipped” out of the hands.

Offences captured
>> Taking the wrong lane
>> Jumping traffic signals
>> Spitting/littering roads
>> Double-parking
>> Parking at road junctions

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