Vivid: Jokes that politicians make... or not

Politicians must realise that a single utterance that does not go down well with the electorate has the potential to erode the faith of the masses, says Annurag Batra of exchange4media

e4m by Annurag Batra
Published: Apr 21, 2014 7:45 AM  | 6 min read
Vivid: Jokes that politicians make... or not

We Indians love a laugh. Even during times of confusion and adversities. And thanks to media, traditional and new, our lung power is only getting accentuated.

These General Elections, perhaps the most eye-catching, splitting innovations have been of the ‘Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar’ series. As firstpost.com states, one must be living in a cave if he or she has not heard of the ad campaign and the sloganeering that followed. Yes, social media has its share of contribution in spreading the influence of ‘The Great Indian Election Laughter Challenge’ far and wide, and ‘Ab ki baar…’ is surely the Kapil Sharma, in essence, if not in the act.

Anything that ends with an ‘Aar’ has sparked a slew of memes, as the thread running on Quora that has gone viral since it was created, indicates.

Take for example: “Safed hai cement Kala hai tar... Ab ki bar, Modi Sarkar” (Cement is white, Tar is black, thus Mod govt), while another goes: “Mooh mein aayi dakar, isliye ab ki baar modi sarkar”. But perhaps the level of stretched imagination is captured in the following: “Joker to Batman: Do you know how I got my scar? Batman’s reply: Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar”.

It’s a riot of mirth across media. From the rhyme ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star…’ to Liam Neeson in Taken 2 to Rock to Alok Nath – all have been invoked to lend an extra punch to the funny side of the General Elections 2014. And the ground the jokesters are covering is never ending, thanks to the virtual world – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, you name it, and they are there.

The Twitterati Touch
Perhaps the most riveting and attention-catching phenomenon these elections has been the rise of the Twitterati. Media reports point out that ever since BJP’s prime ministerial candidate decided to speak out, Twitterati has been playing fastest fingers first. Giving a humorous and hostile touch at the same time to Modi and his election strategy, among the trends that have brought the best of wit from the prospective voters online is ‘Feku’.

Even before Modi began speaking at the FICCI Ladies Organisation, Feku has begun trending, and everything that he mentioned – from chapattis, papads, pizzas, saris, churidars and shirts – became ammo for funslinging. Various international websites have been at pains to explain the term to people following the speech through Twitter abroad. Even journalists and reporters present at the venue, listening to Modi started tweeting with the term Feku to get a retweet or a mention. After that event, Modi has already delivered three speeches and every time he spoke, Feku trended.

However, not all jokes are fun, as Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar – who said that he was joking, but the Election Commission of India refused to smile – found out recently. While addressing labourers in Maharashtra last month, he said: “This time, elections in Satara are on the 17th, and as per my information, election here is on 24. So cast your vote on ‘Clock’ (party symbol) there and cast your vote on ‘clock’ here. Wipe the ink,” he said in reference to the indelible ink to mark the fingers of people who have voted, noting that people should be able to remove it. The ink blot is to ensure that voters don’t con election officials into allowing them to vote more than once.

Does that make one laugh? According to Manish Priyam, political commentator and senior lecturer at Delhi University, in Reuters, “It is the politicians who belittle the act of voter rights and citizens’ power who [make] statements of this kind. You don’t crack that joke”.

Pawar’s case is just one example of how Indian politicians are very bad at making real jokes. When Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal called himself an ‘anarchist’, the irony was totally missed, even though senior AAP member Yogendra Yadav tried to explain, “I don’t know how the media managed to miss the very pronounced irony with which he said it… If you miss irony and turn it into a flat statement, anyone in the world would be misunderstood.” That, is quite a joke.

Indian media has been talking for long of the thin line separating jokes that hurt someone’s feelings or wrong messaging with poor attempts at wit. It’s indeed different when Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said at a meeting of poets in 2012 that “New victory and new wedding, both of them have their own importance. As time will pass, the victory will become old. As time passes, wife also becomes old, that charm does not sustain”, than actor Dev, the Trinamul Congress candidate from Ghatal, cracking jokes about rape.

When Bengali newspaper Ebela asked Dev whether he was enjoying his campaign as the Trinamul Congress candidate and the buzz being generated by his presence there, the actor replied, “Enjoy! It’s just like being raped, yaar! You can shout or you can enjoy. Nothing more than that. Anyway, since I am here now, I must get the job done.”

He was dismissed and rejected by bloggers from as far away as Anchorage, Alaska within hours of the comment made without any thought, say reports. Dev had to tweet an apology pleading that he was new to politics and that he meant no offence to anyone. And, that he was, “SINCERE SORRY”.

Jabbing and making fun will stay, but politicians, particularly those in the making, must realise that a single utterance that does not go down well with the electorate has the potential to risk a career and erode the faith of the masses. Particularly in this age of communication and information travelling the fastest, reporting will remain on top of politics – one of the favourite pastimes of the nation. Politicians must also realise that there are no differences between ‘private’ and ‘public’ utterances in an era where everyone carries phones with recorders at the ready.

As for jokes, Shashi Tharoor rightly says that politicians need to be extra careful to abide by basic standards of decorum. But then, “we should have the sense to see that a joke, however weak it may be, is a joke”.

 

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Varanium Cloud to acquire shares from Fastway Transmissions

The acquisition will be worth Rs 2,683 crore

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 4, 2023 6:25 PM   |   1 min read

Varanium

Varanium Cloud Ltd. will be acquiring up to 14,53,44,256 equity shares with a face of Rs 10 each from Fastway Transmissions Private Limited. The total purchase consideration will amount to Rs 2,683 crore.

As per the company, the consideration payable shall be discharged by way of consideration in cash, the company's statement said.

The acquisition will be subject to execution of the Share Purchase Agreement and other related definitive documents.

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Devraj Sanyal elevated to Chairman and CEO of Universal Music India & South Asia

He has also taken on the additional role of SVP, Strategy for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 2, 2023 10:11 AM   |   1 min read

Devraj sanyal

Devraj Sanyal has been elevated to Chairman and CEO of Universal Music India & South Asia. Prior to this, Sanyal was the MD & CEO of Universal Music India and South Asia, based in Mumbai. He has also taken on the additional role of SVP strategy for The AMEA (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa).

He has been associated with Universal Music India since 2011. Prior to that, he was Group CEO of Percept Sports & Entertainment, which includes music, events, television & intellectual properties, branded content & entertainment and talent management divisions. Sanyal also co-founded the prominent Asian electronic music festival, Sunburn, with Percept Ltd.

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MLA Ashish Shelar on ENBA jury panel

Shelar is currently serving as the Bhartiya Janata Party Mumbai president

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 27, 2023 2:39 PM   |   1 min read

shelar

Ashish Shelar, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra, joins the ENBA jury panel.

Shelar is currently serving as the Bhartiya Janata Party Mumbai president. An active sports administrator, he has held several prestigious positions like Vice President of the Mumbai Cricket Association and Vice President of the Rajasthan Sports Club.

He has been the Mumbai Secretary for the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The ENBA jury this year will be led by Sunil Arora, a senior bureaucrat, and former Election Commissioner of India.

In the last editions, the ENBA jury was led by Sh. Harivansh Narayan Singh – Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Dr. Kiran Karnik – Former President – Nasscom, Dr. Nasim Zaidi - Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, S.Y. Quraishi – Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, N. Ram – Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd., Former Editor–in-chief The Hindu and Group Newspapers, Sanjay Gupta – Managing Director – Star India.

exchange4media formulated enba in 2008 with the objective of recognizing the best in television news, and to reward industry leaders who are responsible for shaping the future of television broadcasting in India.

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Internet growth declined in India in FY22: TRAI

The Internet subscriber base in FY22 stood at 824.8 million, compared to 825.3 million as on 31 March 2021, says TRAI report

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 24, 2023 8:42 AM   |   2 min read

Internet users

India boasts of having the world's second-largest mobile phone market with more than a billion users. Yet, internet growth in the country appears to have declined over the past year. 

According to the latest TRAI annual report, the internet subscriber base, as on 31st March 2022, stood at 824.8 million, compared to 825.3 million as on 31 March 2021. 

This means nearly 0.5 million (5 lakh subscribers) have fallen off the internet between 2021-22, a year which was marked by covid-19 pandemic and lockdown resulting in massive job losses. 

The degrowth was recorded in both broadband and narrowband segments. The narrowband decline was gradual throughout FY22. But in the case of broadband, March 22 quarter was particularly bad as the number of internet subscribers fell from 792 million to 788.2 million.

This degrowth is remarkable especially since India is gearing up to welcome 5G. 

The overall telecom subscriber base registered a decrease of 34.27 million subscribers in this period; from 1201.20 million in FY21 to 1166.93 million in FY22, the TRAI report says. 

The wireless subscriber base, people who access the internet via mobile phone, was 1142.09 million at the end of 31 March, 2022 in comparison to 1180.96 million a year ago, registering a decrease of 38.87 million subscribers during the financial year 2021-22.

Smartphones are the main gateway to go online - and this is where growth is flattening. India Smartphone Market Declined by 10% in 2022 to 144 Million Units, according to the International Data Corporation ’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. This is the lowest figure since 2019, with a 10% decline YoY (year-over-year). 

The last quarter was particularly bad when shipments declined 27% YoY to 30 million units. Steep rise in the cost of mobile phones due to inflation is being blamed for the dwindling demand. 

“The ASP (average selling price) hit a record US$224, rising 18% YoY in 2022. The entry-level segment (sub-US$150) shrank to 46% of the market, down from 54% a year ago. The dearth of new launches in this critical mass segment was a barrier for new smartphone users, thus limiting the overall market’s growth,” Upasana Joshi, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, said in a statement. 

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Shazia Ilmi joins ENBA jury panel

The ENBA jury this year will be led by Sunil Arora, a senior bureaucrat, and former Election Commissioner of India

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 22, 2023 12:52 PM   |   1 min read

shazia ilmi

Shazia Ilmi, former journalist and politician joins the ENBA jury panel.

Ilmi has over 15 years of experience in journalism and documentary filmmaking. As a television journalist, she led the media campaign of an anti-corruption bill. She hosted and produced a famous prime time news show called Desh Videsh on Star News.

Ilmi has been a member of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television. She has been an active politician since 2011. She is currently a spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party.  

The enba jury this year will be led by Sunil Arora, a senior bureaucrat, and former Election Commissioner of India.

In the last editions, the ENBA jury was led by Sh. Harivansh Narayan Singh – Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Dr. Kiran Karnik – Former President – Nasscom, Dr. Nasim Zaidi - Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, S.Y. Quraishi – Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, N. Ram – Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd., Former Editor–in-chief The Hindu and Group Newspapers, Sanjay Gupta – Managing Director – Star India. 

exchange4media formulated enba in 2008 with the objective of recognizing the best in television news, and to reward industry leaders who are responsible for shaping the future of television broadcasting in India.

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Anthony Yesudasan’s last rites to be performed in Delhi today

The last rites will be held at 3pm on 21st Feb. at the Army Cremation Ground, URI Enclave, Barar Square, New Delhi.

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 21, 2023 11:33 AM   |   1 min read

Tony

The last of Anthony (Tony) Yesudasan, former top executive Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s who passed away on 20th Feb will be held today 3pm  at:- Army Cremation Ground, URI Enclave, Barar Square, New Delhi.

It must be mentioned that Jesudasan was a close aide of Dhirubhai Ambani’s younger son Anil Ambani and was associated with the Reliance group for close to three decades. He has been working closely with Ambani since the conglomerate split in 2006 and the Reliance ADA Group was formed. 

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Supersonic has always tried to make music & lifestyle accessible to all: Gaurav Mashruwala

Mashruwala, Business Head, Viacom18 LIVE, shared that the music festival has already onboarded multiple partners including Budweiser, Nexa and JBL

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 17, 2023 9:10 AM   |   5 min read

Gaurav Mashruwala

Live events business was one of the worst-hit sectors in the media & entertainment industry during Covid. Unlike other sectors of the M&E industry, which recovered and touched pre-Covid levels in terms of revenues in the last two years, organized live events segment could recover only 20% revenues in 2021, as per the FICCI EY 2022 report.

While the category picked up momentum in 2022, 2023 is likely to speed up the segment's growth journey as there are several big live events that will take place this year, Vh1 Supersonic being one of them. The music festival is returning after a gap of three years. 

Vh1 Supersonic, which will open on February 24, has already onboarded multiple partners, including Budweiser as the title sponsor, NEXA as co-powered by and JBL as audio partner. Other brands that have partnered with the fest include Jimmy’s Cocktails, MakeMyTrip, Under25, Slim Jim, Gold’s Gym, Impressario and Ajio.

Speaking on the category and the festival, Gaurav Mashruwala, Business Head, Viacom18 LIVE (Integrated Network Solutions), shared that the category of live events and experiences as a whole has exploded. “Overall, there has been a significant increase in the live experiences and event space, whether B2C or B2B, post Covid.” 

Mashruwala believes that 2023 will be a good year for the category. However, he shares that players in the space will have to rethink how they're doing their experiences and events. “There will still be a large number of shows and events, but the manner in which they are carried out and the capacity in which they are carried out will have to be reconsidered by each owner of a brand or experiential company.”

Vh1 Supersonic artistes line-up

This year will witness international pop star Anna-Marie, global trend setter TYGA and internet sensation Chukwuka Ekweani, aka CKay, headlining Vh1 Supersonic 2023. These globally recognized artistes will be performing live in Pune along with an amazing line-up of indie artistes.

“It began as an EDM and techno-based festival in terms of music genres, but over time, we realised that music consumption has changed and that people in India are listening to a wide range of music genres. We also began to broaden those genres. In 2020, we transitioned into a multi-genre music festival, and we will continue to do so this year. In addition to EDM and techno, VH1 Supersonic will feature hip hop, reggae, indie and multiple genres of music,” said Mashruwala.  He said there has been a growth in terms of the music genres that the festival wants to tap into because that's what the consumer demands today. 

Experience 

Curating one-of-its-kind experiences, Budweiser Beats is bringing back the Budweiser Beer Garden along with their Techno and House stage; BUDX Spectrum. 

Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality will not only have the self-programmed SOCIAL stage with SOCIAL-dedicated bars across the festival but there will be an exciting integration: curation of the Superflea with specially curated experiences and pop-ups by restaurants under the Impresario portfolio such as SOCIAL, Salt Water Café, Slink & Bardot, Boss Burger, Lucknowee, Prithvi Cafe & many more

The Superflea will also feature a few brands that are ‘Friends of Impresario’.

Mashruwala said, “We have seen a shift in consumers wanting to have a great experience. If one is going for a festival for three days with friends, one is obviously looking at not just listening to great music but also looking at having a great time.”

He further added, “Experience at the festival over that three-day period becomes something that we have been curating very carefully to ensure that people who come have a great time.''

Mashruwala shared that they launched Super Street in the 2020 edition with fashion and art experience, and this time they are doing a massive Super Street with Sunday Soul Sante and NRYTA.

While NRYTA will take care of the art portion where they will also be doing an immersive art 3D showcase, Sante is doing the entire fashion piece. Between both of them, they will have more than 100 designers in the fashion and art space who will be showcasing.  

Response from partners 

Some of the brands that have previously participated with us and been our partners, such as Budweiser and JBL, have all returned, shared Mashruwala. 

He added, “In terms of brands, we are seeing new interest from brands who have never tried Supersonic before. So we have Nexa, Ajio, and Jimmy'z Cocktail participating this time. So, overall, I'd say the response from brands has been excellent.”

Ticket price 

The festival’s entry ticket for the first day is priced at Rs 999 and the VIP ticket is priced at Rs 1999.  For three days, the entry ticket is priced at Rs 4299 and the VIP ticket is priced at Rs 5999. (Prices are different for different days)

He said, “Overall, we have not raised our prices from the last edition. We wanted our fan base to return, and we also recognise that during Covid, people have faced various financial challenges. I believe that the entry ticket price is the most reasonable in this market for any festival of this size.” 

He further added, “Supersonic as a festival has always tried to make music and lifestyle accessible to everyone.”

He concluded, “With the inclusion of our new large experiences, we are seeing that that response is only expanding.”

 

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