Suron ke Sasur, Kyunki Har Friend Zaroori Nahin Hota, Yo Yo Horny Singh, Bollywood Aam Aadmi, Lage Raho Shetty Bhai, Chai Sutta Chronicles, you would recognise these titles if you’ve watched the videos of Q-tiyapa that is viralling on social networks.
Q-tiyapa of The Viral Fever (TVF) pokes fun at everything that affects the common man’s life in India. The Viral Fever has over 10 million views on its YouTube Channel and 60,000 subscribers. The man behind Q-tiyapa is Arunabh Kumar, an IIT-Kharagpur graduate.
Arunabh quit his job in the US Air Force and worked with Red Chillies Entertainment as an assistant director for the Bollywood film Om Shanti Om. “I regard Red Chillies Entertainment my film school. I was fortunate to work with Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan on Om Shanti Om. Besides, I also got an offer from Aamir Khan Productions to work on Delhi Belly,” says Arunabh
He also made short films and music videos and freelanced them for advertising agencies.
“I wanted to create content that presents reality, which people could relate to, and at the same time, I wanted to entertain my audience. My plan was to create a different show,” says Arunabh.
Q-tiyapa was a show that he planned for MTV. But, it was rejected. However, looking back, he says it was one of the best rejections of his life.
Arunabh decided to create a platform online as the television channels didn’t accept his work. ‘Indian audience is dumb, they won’t like it,’ he was often told. Arunabh wanted to prove them wrong. So, he started TVF with his friend and current partner Amit Golani. Everyone has a laptop and an internet connection and it is the most crucial tool, he believes.
“In 2010, we shot our pilot, Inglorious Seniors. It was a spoof on ragging in colleges. As the title suggests, it has an Inglourious Basterds-like twist to it,” he says. The video became viral among college students.
Within a couple of days of uploading the video, TVF got 17-18,000 likes. Their second video, Rowdies, got a million views in less than five days. Interestingly, the actor who plays Raghu in Rowdies was not even allowed to audition for some TV channels, but after Q-tiyapa became a hit, channels lined up for him. This kind of content is readily consumed on YouTube because it cannot find a way onto television channels.
Talking about the expenditure, Arunabh says that while the production cost is usually in excess of `25,000, it cost TVF more than `1 lakh to make the Bollywood AAP video.
It is easy to see why Q-tiyapa triggers such diverse reactions, because India is a country where a large group of people hates politicians but an equally large group loves actors. Hence, a sensible brand of humour has all the chances to do well. “India is a funny country but without a sense of humour. I find hypocrisy very ironic,” says Arunabh. Q-tiyapa has acquired huge popularity and has gathered a fairly large following of people who diligently spread the word about the episodes. “I want The Viral Fever to become one of the biggest youth networks in the country,” says Arunabh, who wants to make TVF a one-stop comedy hub.