If you are running across Facebook looking for some fun, and if you know to read Malayalam, you should try spending time on the Kerala Police page. The posts, the troll videos and photos, the awfully funny replies for comments posted under them – it’s a real treat.
On Monday, they put out a video to troll those circulating fake posts against the Kerala police’s involvement during the Sabarimala protests. When a Facebook user commented that he was unfollowing all troll pages and going to share only Kerala police troll posts from now, pat came the reply, “Good son, I shall not discourage you.”
Another comment posted on the video asked how was it possible to identify a fake post. The reply from Kerala police was an iconic dialogue from Mammootty’s movie King. (Sense venam, sensitivity venam, sensibility venam).
The video has crossed half a million views already and the comments are just piling up every minute.
The use of humour to communicate with people has proved to be a big success for the page. And so it’s time to meet the men behind all this new popularity the Kerala Police has won in the last few months. Senior Civil Police Officers Kamal Nath and Bimal VS, Civil Police Officers Santhosh PS, Arun BT and Biju BS – the men that became part of a media cell to handle the social media of Kerala Police.
“A test was conducted from the All Kerala Police and five of us were selected to work in the social media cell of Kerala Police, under IG Manoj Abraham,” says Arun BT.
When they took charge about six months ago, the Facebook page had nearly 3 lakh likes, and a post at best got 100 views. “The idea was to take more messages to the public, to reach out. We first used a formal language on our posts. But the response was poor. It was Manoj sir’s idea to try and change our tone a little, to make it more interesting to the public,” Arun says.
So then they began using the concept of memes. The first one, Arun says, was about a court verdict that said the police can’t punish those who used phones while driving on the road. The meme was an instant hit. “So then we understood how to reach the people.”
The advice at the time of the Nipah virus were also passed on as memes. It worked.
Within months, the page gained so much traction that, among police departments in India, it had the most number of followers. Arun remembers the meme that took them there. At the time they thought they were second to the Bengaluru Traffic Police’s FB page, they put out a meme using images from the film Kammattipadam and asked the public, ‘start (liking) now?’ Malayalees being Malayalees went on a ‘liking’ spree till the mark was reached.
“But then we realised there was another page for Bengaluru City police which had more followers. So we released another meme, which also became popular,” Arun says.
Now the page has more than 8.5 lakh followers, which is more than the number of followers for the New York Police’s NYPD page and definitely more than that of Bengaluru City Police.
“It is all thanks to Manoj Abraham sir. He has given us all the freedom. He said there is no rule that those wearing Khaki can’t joke. The only condition he has made is not to hurt anyone.”
So you can see for the newest troll video against fake posts, comments like ‘niruthi niruthi commentiyal marupadi tharayirunnu’ (if you give a gap while commenting, we could give replies). And to a comment that says ‘you are so brave, I am inviting you to the underworld’, the reply is a meme featuring Mohanlal that simply says ‘Vo… venda’ (No, thanks).
You have to be familiar with the movies and the language to get the jokes. For the Sabarimala issue, the police used stills from the Nivin Pauly movie Action Hero Biju, where he plays a brave no-nonsense policeman. The meme says, “Only those who come with stones and sticks in place of the irumudikettu (double headed bag that pilgrims carry to Sabarimala), need to fear us. Whatever rumour they spread about us, we would do all it takes to keep the peace of our land.”
They also have actors coming on videos to pass on a message. Prithviraj featured in a recent one called Viral about protecting your privacy on the internet. Manju Warrier appeared in one for Pink Patrol, Indrans in another one road safety.
The page also makes funny but telling videos to address risky trends such as the recent Kiki challenge where people would get out of moving cars, dance to a rap song called Kiki, and get back in. In the police’s video, a young lad who attempts it directly falls into a police car and is taken away. The caption says ‘We don’t need dangerous challenges’.
There are also more than a thousand messages coming to their inbox every day. They try to answer as many as possible. There would be 20-year-old lads coming to them for advice on love and marriage. The police advise them to talk to their parents, Arun says, smiling.
They receive complaints too on the page. But they can’t accept them online, so they direct the complainants to the respective police stations, with addresses and phone numbers.
As of now they are focussing on Facebook. But the police also plan to make their other social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram etc, just as popular.
And other than the humour, there is some PDA too.