Latex Teletubbies Set New Record - The New Indian Express

Latex Teletubbies Set New Record

Published: 02nd March 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 01st March 2014 02:18 PM

I am the condom friend ever useful to you,” sings a pastel-coloured anthropomorphic condom in Telugu, accompanied by four others dancing to a catchy tune in this popular YouTube video.

The characters in the video, which has received one crore fifty thousand hits to-date, offer useful advice that comes with English subtitles. Apart from handy tips, the talking condoms also voice their various grievances but it is all in good humour.

“I am condom friendly” is a song in Telugu that provides information about risky behaviours, preventive measures and aims to educate the youth about the benefits of using condoms.

There is helpful information on how people can integrate condoms into sexual foreplay by using flavoured and coloured ones while protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.

Though it has been nearly nine years since the album came out, the condom song, which first drew attention in 2012, continues to be just as popular even today.

“Though the album was released in 2005, I don’t know why only the condom song became such a success in 2012,” says Pedulla Srinivas, a 42-year-old folk dancer and the mind behind the viral video.

“But I believe what is more important is promoting safe sex and using condoms. People are talking about it more openly now,” he adds.

“The song continues to be shared on social media and we are pleased to see so many people making positive comments about our approach to the subject,” he shares.

“I didn’t anticipate the response that we received for the video. We just wanted to spread awareness in India so people understand the importance of using condoms,” explains Srinivas.

Back in 2005, the team had a tough time shooting the videos, he reminiscences. Shooting outdoors with men required to dance dressed as giant condoms obviously wasn’t a piece of cake. Was it hard to convince the actors? “There was no hesitation,” says Srinivas. “Some people would look at it as a crude modern thing, but it’s also a civilised one. Initially, it was very embarrassing, with children running along and making fun. But we did not give up. We thought it was something important that must be spoken about.”

 “We only used one movement—lifting the heels and walking on toes. We wanted to show that condoms are easy to use,” says Srinivas, who has a Masters in Performing Arts from the University of Hyderabad.

The campaign has had its ups and downs because of public pressure. The panchayat of Shankarapalli near Hyderabad gave them just five days to shoot all six songs. His troupe hopped about for five whole days, while bewildered villagers looked on.

“We were only given five days to shoot. They thought we were doing something wrong and villagers should not see us perform,” laughs Srinivas, who is now busy promoting folk arts through Nrityanjali Academy.

The videos were produced by the Nrityanjali Academy. It is a non-profit voluntary organization that has been working to help those in small villages in south India deal with STDs, HIV/ AIDs.

Nrityanjali Academy’s videos are presented by ordinary people rather than jargon-mouthing doctors or dour-faced health workers. There is none of the awkwardness typically associated with conversations on such subjects.

They just get on with it.

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