Finger on the pulse

Updated: Aug 01, 2020, 08:23 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

Our report card of the new Indian-made video-sharing app

A screengrab of the video of the women trying to burst a balloon
A screengrab of the video of the women trying to burst a balloon

It doesn't get more Indian than this. There's a new video-sharing app called DalKhichdi that's been launched after the ban on TikTok, which makes us think that had the developers been of Chinese origin, would they have named it Prawn Dumplings? Either way, we give it a try to see whether it has the potential to fill the gaping void that the TikTok ban has left for regional influencers, after the government pulled the rug from beneath their feet.

The first thing we notice is that the user interface is clean. You are asked a few basic questions on signing up, such as what your interests and preferred video languages are. We choose Hollywood and English, but the very first video that the algorithm leads us to on the scrolling list reflects neither choice, since it's of a middle-aged desi woman with a heart-shaped balloon stuck to her behind, and another aunty trying to burst it with a gyrating movement even as their friends double up in laughter. That sets the tone for the content on the app. Don't expect high-brow entertainment, and in that sense, it is a worthy replacement for TikTok, which democratised content creation, allowing people from outside elite metropolitan circles to express what their idea of fun is.

The sound library section
The sound library section 

The sound library for the music that can accompany user videos is thus on expected lines, with mainly Punjabi tunes and a few devotional tracks thrown in. We go through the process of uploading content ourselves (don't ask what it was), and find that it's ridiculously simple. But each video can only be 18 or 32 seconds long. That keeps the viewer's consumption pattern short and snappy.

And our overall assessment of this app is that while it has miles to go before it can attain the sort of global outreach that TikTok has, when it comes to the Indian market, the developers of DalKhichdi have their finger on the pulse, pun intended.

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