AIB has released a new video. This one titled ‘Every Party Song’, featuring the versatile actor Irrfan Khan, and set to the template of pretty much ‘every party song’ is a brilliant piece of satire.
But does AIB itself follow a template? What’s the recipe to their rise.
I first sat up and took notice of AIB with the brilliantly crafted self-parody by Alia Bhatt – I consider it a masterpiece of strategic communication and perhaps the ‘smartest’ career move by Alia. Her career graph shot up thereafter.
Next up, and what really took them mainstream, was The Knockout (The Roast of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Kapoor). This, some say masterminded by Karan Johar was, again, well thought through with Karan bringing in the elite audience and Ranveer and Arjun, with their following helping become acceptable with the large masses. Someone commented the other day that Ranveer has worked hard to be the Govinda of this generation. This ground event, released on YouTube got into serious trouble on-account of language used (it it was a movie, it would perhaps score second on the record, after Wolf of Wall Street, which has the distinction of leading the list with most curse words in one movie). AIB ended issuing an apology, but the job had been done.
The next noteworthy piece by AIB was the Net Neutrality feature that took the topic mainstream, even among those who likely haven’t a clue on what the issue really is. But that showed you the reach they had achieved.
Last I commented on a AIB activity was their, well thought through comment post the release of Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Something to the tune of – What a shame that we waited through Ramzan, only to be gifted a movie like Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Now the whole world knows that the whole world is divided into two kind of people, those who love Salman and those who love hating Salman. Polarisation is the steroid that drives social conversations. You can well imagine the response to the bait.
So what are the common patterns?
Create a wave (or ride one, when you cannot) – Alia and Irrfan (classic self-deprecating humour, scripted to perfection) are brilliant examples of the former. Net Neutrality and the Salman comment of the latter and come in handy during a drought of creativity.
They are the underdogs – unlike a Chetan Bhagat, whose rise on the digital medium is thanks to the shared hatred for the man (which he knows how to leverage to the hilt), AIB is the underdog – in them we see us. Among the first YouTube successes from India – if they can make it, so can we; their right to free-speech must be protected (so, yes, they can and should use the cuss words).
Elaborate use of the Brahmastra, in every contemporary stand-up comic’s armoury. An ‘asshole’ delivered with a punch is a sure-shot way to evoke a laugh among the urban, digitally connected, supporter-of-free-speech, elite today, as are many other ‘mother/daughter/body-part’ gaalis). AIB understands this.
They love to tempt the institutions (and conservatives) and show them the middle-finger. I compare their attitude here with that of the neighbourhood brat, who when caught redhanded for throwing pebbles on the windowpane, will cry his gut out “Auntie, please, please, phir kabhi nahin karoonga.”, and let go, will turn around, stick out the tongue, mocking, before running away holding on to his Chaddis. Every Party Song ends just like that, but the AIB story has just begun.
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