What People Share: AIB’s Devaiah Bopanna At India Film Project 2017
Devaiah Bopanna, a writer/director at All India Bakchod, one of India’s leading comedian groups, spoke chiefly about the ways and means with which the AIB team and him come up with smart and engaging content, that is both socially relevant and pays homage to pop culture across ages. The hour long session was filled with laughter and mirth, with Bopanna displaying his wit and knowledge of making people laugh in today’s volatile times where one can upset another with merely a comment. He spoke at length about the way people share and consume content on the internet today, making memes and the mystery behind ‘cringe pop’. Below are a few highlights from Devaiah’s talk.
Making Meme in a Meme
When Devaiah and his team were working with Irfan Khan on the Bollywood Item Song project, they realized that today’s generation wildly shares a meme, when it makes fun of another meme itself. It struck to him that they should take a popular global meme (the Drake meme) and should make memes around Irrfan itself. The idea clicked and soon enough, the entire country was widely sharing the Irrfan Khan memes, making it a viral concept.
Catching the Topical Wave
A lot of data comes from what people share. At AIB, says Devaiah, there is a dedicated person who’s sole job is to just go through hundreds of sources everyday and pick out the most relevant stuff on the internet. The Insight Miner (a novel term coined by them) then hands over the most important socio-political culturally trending information to the rest of the team which sifts through it and shortlists it to 2-3. Devaiah points out how one as a content creator should always keep a lookout for relevant trends. He cites example of one of their own videos, the Demonetization one, which they made a month after the government announcement. He claims if they didn’t make it sooner, or made it later, it wouldn’t have had the same impact. Devaiah goes on to say that though it may not be funny all the time, it is important to make content that is relevant, or atleast has a reflection of the current times.
People Share to Look Smart
Devaiah observes that in today’s day and age, people have lesser attention spans and hardly indulge in reading long form text. That is why there has been an outburst of video creators in the last few years. Sure, the stuff that The Caravan covers and writes is brilliant, some of the best work in long form journalism he says, but very few actually read the article from end to end. Devaiah speaks about how he has noticed that people share intelligent articles from publications such as The New York Times which prompts others on the internet to instantly like or share it ahead. This adds to the illusion that a particular person consumes only rich, quality content.
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Share To Show Your Point of View
Everybody always had an opinion, but it is only in today’s age where we can actually express it fully without almost no borders. However, not everyone feels comfortable or is creatively inclined to express it in a video, a sketch or a painting. After all, not everyone is equally talented Devaiah says. Thus, the internet becomes an outlet for all sorts of viewpoints, a boiler room where ideas clash, merge, grow and sometimes, die.
The Contrarian Point of View
Devaiah says every topic goes through a cycle. It has its phases. There was a time when everyone in the country was gaga over the election of the Prime Minister. Today, the country is divided when it comes to their opinion on him. Devaiah claims that to make people stand up and notice the topic in question, one has to offer the contrarian point of view. To give more clarity, Devaiah spoke about how just last year when PINK the film released, Amitabh Bachchan had written a heartwarming letter to his granddaughters. To counter this, Devaiah wrote a satirical blog titled ‘The Real Amitabh Bachchan Letter to His Granddaughters’, which was widely read.
Nostalgia rocks. Everyone loves to go back to things that they fondly remember from the past. Yet, the same feeling can also be used to drive a point across. This Devaiah and AIB proved by making a video on the state of women in the film industry in the video titled Sexual Harassment Through The Ages, where they recreated different eras in a song and dance sequence. Even right now on the internet, one will see people talking about Maggi and Poo (character from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham), says Devaiah.
Read Also: Behind The Scenes of TVF’s Humorously Yours
There Is Always Room for the Unexpected
Devaiah closes the session expressing his wonder about Kolaveri Di and its legendary success. He says that there are elements of cringe pop all around us, but few attain success and eyeballs like the song did. One should learn from Dhinchak Pooja and not out rightly reject her, he insists. And as far as the question as to why a Dhinchak Pooja and Kolaveri Di have gotten so popular, Devaiah is as mystified about it as we all are.