The local connect: How creators of comic contents are reaching out to masses through vernacular languages | The Financial Express

The local connect: How creators of comic contents are reaching out to masses through vernacular languages

Some stories are best told in the vernacular, and creators of comic content are making the most of it on social media to reach out to the masses

The local connect: How creators of comic contents are reaching out to masses through vernacular languages
When a conversation strikes around words like chakkar, jugaad, bhai, jhakkas, kadak sawaal and bhavaa,you know what the reaction will be—the audience is naturally amused and intrigued by the use of local lingo, and they can instantly relate to it.

Shraddha Jain, or ‘aiyyoshraddha’ as she is known to her social media fans, is a popular figure on Instagram. With over 5,47,000 followers and counting, Jainposts videos that are versatile and effortlessly hilarious, with an accent that is perfectly scripted and enacted in five languages—Tulu, Kannada, Hindi, Marathi and English. Whether it’s a ‘Mrs Kulkarni’ in a Marathi accent to dropping rant sessions in Kannada, or projecting herself as a corporate remote worker, HR manager, father or real estate broker, her culturally diverse characters are a great example of language and content going hand in hand in a comic act.

Some stories are best told in the vernacular. Realising this, content creators are adding a touch of the local connect to their comic acts. When a conversation strikes around words like chakkar, jugaad, bhai, jhakkas, kadak sawaal and bhavaa,you know what the reaction will be—the audience is naturally amused and intrigued by the use of local lingo, and they can instantly relate to it.

If you’re a regular on social media, you’d remember the dialogue by Allu Arjun’s Pushpa where he says, “Pushpa naam sunke flower samjhe kya? Flower nahi, fire hai main, jhukunga nahi”, in a ‘Chittoori’ accent. For a long time, Instagram was replete with videos of people lip-syncing the iconic dialogue and grooving to the peppy songs from the action-drama film originally made in Telugu. If you turn the clock back a little, actor Jagdeep’s role as Soorma Bhopali in Sholay made him popular across generations and his catchphrase in the film, “Mera naam Soorma Bhopali aise hi nahi hai,” still echoes in our ears.

Also Read: Happy, proud that KNP chosen for cheetah reintroduction programme, say locals; authorities gear up for Saturday event

It is this premise—the increasing use of the vernacular—that is redefining comedy on social media. Take for instance,the sister duo of Shazma Raza Khan and Soha Raza Khan, better known as ‘The Bajis’. Be it discussing about women on shopping sprees, an incident from someone’s burial, kids fighting over sweets or the banal happenings of a typical Indian middle-class household, there’s nothing that Shabbo and Gulafsha baji (Urdu for elder sister) don’t give their two cents on, leaving their viewers in splits. The two characters, hilariously impersonated by the real-life siblings, speak in an interpersonal tone—interlaced with desi humour—which is reminiscent of Muslim women in western UP.

With over 2,31,000 followers on Instagram, Shabbo and Gulafsha’s rib-tickling antics are shot between the Khans’ houses in Chandigarh, Delhi and Rampur. They have received big love from netizens on their YouTube channel too, which has over 6,50,000 subscribers and counting.

Similarly, Bengaluru-based RJ and comedian Danish Sait’s phone conversations are informative, snappy, and inoffensive and centred on real-life happenings. Using a typical ‘Bangalorean’ accent (with liberal doses of ‘bro’ and ‘dude’) and dressed in a tee with a fake moustache, Sait makes videos that are apt for all age groups.

Delhi-based comedian Bhuvan Bam’s acts, too, are inspired by real-life people-parents, best friends, uncles and aunts. One of his most popular characters is Titu mama. The comedian, who runs the channel ‘BB Ki Vines’ (Bhuvan Bam Ki Vines) has over 26 million subscribers on YouTube. His content also centres around the average Indian middle-class household, with relatable stories and conversations.

Greater involvement
Mumbai-based Prashant Deorah, CEO of Puretech Digital, a full-services digital agency based in Mumbai, feels comedians rely on their power of observation and the ability to relate to their audience in order to get the kind of response they desire, and vernacular in this context is extremely important as it allows comedians to directly connect with the masses and involve them in their act/art.

“The entertainment industry looks to connect with audiences on an emotional/ aspirational level and it needs to be relatable for them to enjoy vernacular content. Many brands attempt to leverage vernacular content as well to expand their reach and connect with the masses, so do these performers,” says Deorah.

The trend of making content using lingos by the entertainment industry can establish a connection primarily with young audiences. “Slangs, be in English or in vernacular, usually change with time and the generation that is using them. However, incorporating these words in daily language is something that brands today are trying and testing—to be more relevant to their audiences, especially on social media,” says Deepak Salvi, co-founder and COO of Chingari App, a video sharing mobile app.

Finding comedy in chaos is important. Prajakta Koli, known for her YouTube Channel Mostlysane, focuses on relatable and observational comedy related to daily-life situations. She feels lingos help in achieving content more from an audience’s perspective. “Right now, if there is anything you can do to adapt to the current environment is to get through to your audience then it is the other way around,” adds the Mumbai-based actor, who has over 6.68 million active subscribers on YouTube.

While your first language touches your heart, adopting a vernacular always gives an extra reach and impact in the entertainment space, and comedy is an extension of it. A great example to quote here is of standup comedian Zakir Khan, the sakht launda! As per Himanshu Arora, co-founder, Social Panga, which offers digital marketing and design services for brands like Lifestyle, Decathlon, Paytm, Titan, Cisco, and others, Khan’s entry into the scene changed the consumption of comedy content in vernacular. “Before that, vernacular comedy was either slapstick or tongue-in-cheek with a derogatory outlook. Zakir Khan has been a pioneer in a lot of ways and a lot of comedians started picking their mother tongue as a preferred language, as it gives them reach and connection to Tier II & III cities, and not restricting it to only metro cities,” says Arora.

There is endless use of lingos in conversation and vernacular comedy and social media is playing a great role in amplifying it. Short format apps have vast content around local languages which have a lot of shareability. Tik Tok, Reels, Moj, Bolo Indya, etc, offer content in local languages and the whole #MadeinIndia and #VocalforLocal movement is playing a large role in supporting it.

A drastic change in accessing the Internet in the local or regional languages is also visible. “Knowing the language and to be comfortable in it are two shores of a sea. One can know a dialect and still not be comfortable in it. So, one can now use any social media platform in their regional or local lingo. Many video streaming sites now provide content in many regional and local languages, which help the user intake what is wanted in their comfortable means of the source.

Regional content attracts a specific target audience and develops a sense of connection with the public which raises an appropriate amount of goodwill and brand loyalty,” adds Arora.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.