For those who are wondering if there is a mistake in the headline, let me start with introducing you to the best web series that you have probably not seen yet. The Screen Patti’s Rabish Ki Report is a political satire disguised as a parody.
Here, they have the lead actor and the co-writer of the series, Shivankit Singh Parihar parodying the classic Ravish Kumar style. With the usage of appropriate Hindi, Ravish’s hair-do and even his quirky laughter, Shivankit presents quite an impression of the journalist. The show is co-written by Shivankit and Deepesh Sumitra Jagdish.
Ravish’s style of reportage and his approach towards social problems has always connected with the masses. Be it his blackout episode right after the JNU incident or his interview with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Ravish’s approach is laced with sarcasm. He gets his point across in a witty manner and also gets through to the viewer.
This was the basis for TSP’s Rabish Ki Report. Indianexpress.com got in touch with Shivankit Singh Parihar as he shared how they came up with the concept of the show. “Ravish is the only reporter out there who is making any sense. His own satire is so good.” But one would wonder that out of the many distinctive reporters with noteworthy tactics, how did they choose Ravish? To this, Shivankit said, “If you make a video on Arnab Goswami, he’s already very loud and has no sense of humour. So it’s easy to make a foolish character more foolish but it’s very difficult to make a spoof of a smart character like Ravish. So our struggle was that the man himself is so funny and has a great sense of satire, how do we make a spoof on him?”
Rabish Ki Report does not take itself too seriously. With episode titles like “Laundo Ki House Party” (Bachelors’ House Party) and “Rabish Chala Disco” (Rabish goes to a Disco), one instantly gets to know that this a spoof but Shivankit shares that even amid the laughter, they have a message at the end of each episode. And this was the primary reason why they decided to pick mundane problems of youngsters.
Shivankit shares that the episode with the house party had a strong message. In the episode, we see Rabish attending a bachelors’ house party where the youngsters have all the imaginable millennial problems, from heartbreak to cash crunch. But towards the end, Rabish suggests that “Yogi ji should call everyone for a drink and he must not forget Advani as he must be too lonely.” Shivankit shares, “Here, we were talking about Babri Masjid. Our message was that he (Yogi) should just call everyone over, talk to them, have a good time and then look for a solution.” This fit in with the episode as they constantly repeat that a house party could end any quarrel.
The uncensored content of the digital space gives a lot of freedom to the creators, including the usage of cuss words. Shivankit acknowledges the same but also points that they tailor their language as per the episode’s demand. “We made a conscious effort to not use any cuss words in “Board Exams Ki Tayari” (Preparing for Board Exams) because there are parents and kids involved. But when it’s a house party thing, cuss words come in organically because that’s how a bunch of young men will talk when they’re drinking. Even for our next episode, UPSC Ki Tayari (Preparing for UPSC), we’re not using any cuss words.”
The social message in this series is strong but not explicit. In their last episode, this aim was visibly clear. The show took a dig on those parents who pressurise their kids for better marks, better opportunities and most of all, social acceptance. This is where the comparisons between Barkha and Goswami ji ka beta (here, they are hinting at Barkha Dutt and Arnab Goswami) fit organically. The Barkha and Goswami bits have been recurring motifs through all of their episodes.
But does the real Ravish know about this parody? Yes, he does. Shivankit shared that Ravish does not approve of the cuss words but is well aware of the show. TSP is even planning to get him on board for one of the episodes but they feel it’s a little too soon for that.
As we have seen in the past, the comic sketches are highly scrutinised in our country but Shivankit feels that the ones who are creating these problems are basically “dumb, not smart”. “If I take a dig on Modi or Rahul Gandhi but I do it smartly, they won’t even come to know. They don’t have that much to comprehend sarcasm. They only get offended when someone is too literal.”
With four episodes out, TSP’s Rabish Ki Report has fast gained popularity in the digital space. Their next episode will be online towards the end of this month. There is no shortage of desi humour on the internet and companies like TVF have made sure of that but watching a political satire that also humorously infuses social problems is a treat and it is for this that Rabish Ki Report deserves an applause.