Indian satire, spoof, humour and parody portal The UnReal Times, is shutting down its website. The platform, also known as India’s answer to The Onion became popular for its articles on politics, movies, sports, media and society in general. The UnReal Times was formed in the year 2011, and for more than five years have been posting fake news articles, comical transcripts and fake conversations on social media mocking current events with a touch of humour.
CS Krishna and Karthik Laxman, the founders had once written an article called ‘Government mulls direct cash transfers by dropping money bags from the sky’, which was a dig at the Direct Cash Transfer scheme launched by the government. After the tremendous feedback received on the article, the duo decided to start the website, www.theunrealtimes.com and started publishing a satirical post each day. After this, some of the articles became a rage on social media platforms. Some of those articles included, ‘Manmohan Singham’, ‘Journalist mistakenly interviews Bollywood actor Imran Khan instead of Pakistani cricket legend’, etc.
Ashwin Kumar, became a popular columnist for the website and was regarded as one of the top writers, and so was Ajayendar Reddy whose take on Raghuram Rajan became a cult hit article. the website’s picture series also became quite popular. While many writers used to write using their name there were many who used pen names to post articles, including names like Insane Insaan, Hitler Swami. The editors themselves used the name UnReal Mama. In a post explaining the decision to close the website, URT said, “For a brief moment, we were tempted to blame PM Modi’s demonetization for our decision, along with rising intolerance and Donald Trump’s election as US President. Thankfully, a sanctimonious Rajdeep Sardesai tweet popped up on our Twitter timeline exactly at that moment and the thought vanished from our minds as quickly as cash disappears from an ATM these days.”
Announcement: We are shutting down… #NotUnreal http://t.co/w1eCofCFrv
— The UnReal Times (@TheUnRealTimes) November 29, 2016
@TheUnRealTimes Oho. That’s sad. Just read your post, and yes, I went and bought the book. 🙂
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) November 29, 2016
The UnReal Times became so popular that many celebrities and politicians started following it on social media. Even mainstream media had mentioned articles posted on the website in several articles. However, the website also got mired in some controversies which included the Dr Manmohan Singh’s morphed image with Ajay Devgn’s Singham. In the years 2014, Krishna and Laxman launched “Unreal Elections” a satirical book which was published by Penguin Random House. Now they have written a book called ‘Unreal Aliens’, which is a fictional story on when PM Narendra Modi-led India hosted an alien delegation.
While announcing the closure of the website, UnReal Mama posted an article on the website and said, “Regardless of how you might react to this announcement, on behalf of all our writers, we would like to tell you folks that it has been a privilege entertaining you, making you smile and once in a while, making you go ‘Dawg, that’s deep’. For over five years we did this, and boy, did we have a ball! “