Making the rounds on Republic Day was the clip of an adorable Sikh boy belting out the national anthem while blithely mangling the lyrics. The Alia Bhatt bimbette spoof was also widely circulated and chortled at. Cuddly pets and babies getting up to crazy antics are a hot favourite and office hours are often devoted to downloading and forwarding such edifying videos.
The ease with which video clips can now be shot and uploaded has resulted in some infamous MMS scandals where several women, and a few men, have been caught on camera in situations that they wish hadn’t become public. Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapur, Ashmit Patel, Riya Sen and Mona Singh must all rue the ubiquity of camera phones after featuring in embarrassing videos that went viral.
Privacy is the first casualty in a world obsessed with shooting and posting images online and most celebrities fear being caught en flagrante delicto or even being clicked without make-up shopping for groceries or coming off a long flight in their pyjamas. The public, hungry for gossip, spends hours trawling the net in search of salacious paparazzi pictures.
Meanwhile, we have mutated into a society of narcissists that are fixated with taking selfies. Social media is littered with photos of pouting prima donnas and preening himbos and one wonders if they are blinded by vanity or simply delusional in believing that anyone cares to see their distorted duck faces.
One benefit of this new technology is that a number of women who are victims of harassment have been able to turn the tables on their aggressors by filming them on their phones and then shaming them on social media. Several videos have gone viral of a local lout getting his comeuppance at the hands of a brave young woman. The two Rohtak-based sisters who gave a rowdy Romeo a memorable thrashing in a bus, the gutsy woman who confronted a dirty old man who tried to touch her inappropriately on a Bhubaneswar-bound flight, the feisty girl at a poetry slam who floored us with her rap tirade against the misogynistic Yo Yo Honey Singh — it gladdens my heart to see Indian women taking on chauvinists with such chutzpah.
Exposing corruption, posting pictures of civic negligence, shaming perverts — there is an endless list of good that can be achieved by judiciously employing modern technology.
The recent irreverent ‘Roast’ of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh by a bunch of stand-up comics became an instant internet sensation given that it involved A-list Bollywood celebrities, profanity and iconoclastic humour, the likes of which is rarely seen in India. Unsurprisingly, various custodians of public morality are frothing at the mouth and are determined to ban this virulent video. This has further fired the public imagination and more people than ever before are clamouring to view this clip.
Be it for vendetta, vindication or vicarious thrill it seems the viral video is an integral part of the interesting times in which we live.
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