An animation video on the arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade, IFS, which has soured the relationship between India and the US, has surfaced on the Internet — and it has come from, of all the places, Taiwan.
The one-and-a-half-minute spoof has been posted by a group called Next Media Animation TV. And though not everyone will be amused by the fact that the sari-clad Khobragade keeps turning into a Goddess Kali-like entity, the idea seems essentially to tell the basic story of the row wittily. Subtitles include one that goes “US not sari”.
“Khobragade’s story was heavily reported and talked about. We thought the story was quite interesting and out of the norm, which was why we chose it. The reaction to our video seems to be pretty extreme, people either really liked it or really hated it,” Jessica Wu, the international marketing editor of Next Media Animation, said in an e-mail interview.
Founded in 2007, Next Media Animation is one of the largest full-service digital animation studios in Asia, with more than 600 creators and artists based in Taipei, Taiwan. Along with a YouTube channel, the studio also has TomoNews apps.
The video, posted on YouTube on December 18, shows Khobragade hiring nanny Sunita Richard, smuggling her to the US in a suitcase with a “I love NY” sign on it, and then being arrested on the street, subjected to a Draupadi-like stripping, and thrown into a cell with New York City prostitutes, where she weeps copiously.
Woven in with the dancing animation figures is footage of a truck towing away barriers outside the US embassy in Delhi, following which a boy materialises to plant a “Bomb Season” sign at the spot, and two jiving figures in suicide vests — presumably terrorists — show up.
The video ends by asking viewers, “Do you think diplomats should have to follow the rules like everyone else? Let us know.”
Wu said Next Media Animation focused on stories from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and the US, but often picked up important international stories as well.
“We have a team of editors looking for stories every day. We often pick stories that are trending in mainstream media, but we also feature smaller obscure stories that we think would generate conversation,” she said. “In addition to viral animated news stories, Next Media Animation also develops original creative content across multiple platforms and channels. We are known around the world for our daily satirical news animations.”
The first animation that had traction worldwide was on Tiger Woods’s infamous car accident in 2009, which was picked up by news media outlets around the world, Wu said. “Since then, we have been featured on Conan (we had a ‘feud’ with the host), The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Larry King Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and many more.”
Their popular animations in the past have included those on Steve Jobs, the London Olympics, the TSA’s security procedures, and more recently, the disgraced Toronto mayor, Rob Ford.