Flix Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 05:30
Monalisa Das | The News Minute | March 19, 2015 | 12:37 pm IST Follow @Mona_Lisa_Das "Don't eat it, read it, see it. Don't even think about it..." goes the lyrics of the song "Beep it. Ban it" by Enna da Rascalas (EdR), a group of young comedians from South India. The video, co-produced by Culture Machine Media Pvt Ltd & Stray Factory Joint and released on March 11, was the group's attempt to start a conversation on the various bans and censorship recorded in the country recently.  “Initially we wanted to make a video on International Women’s Day. But people were actively discussing the beef ban around the same time. So we decided to make one on bans and censorship”, Mathivanan Rajendran, one of the group’s members, tells The News Minute. He however is quick to add that the video is not specifically about the beef ban, but about bans in general and that they weren't trying to make a statement through it. "The video was an attempt to generate conversation, which we have been successful in doing," he says. The “sensitive” topic of the video meant that the group also received several “harsh responses.” The video was picked up by the social media and has been viewed over 70,000 times on YouTube. EdR is a branch of Stray Factory, a company which focuses on theatre performances. Since its inception in 2011, Stray Factory has performed across the world and its focus remains on “local content which is globally relevant.” Last year Culture Machine, a multichannel network on YouTube, tied up with Stray Factory, and thus was born the EdR channel. “When we started EdR, we wanted to engage with newer audiences by producing content which was interesting, for both the online and offline platform. We produced a few videos following which Culture Machine got in touch with us,” says Mathivanan. Some of members of the core team, comprising of around four people, are as young as 21, and even the oldest is just 30. However, the group shot to limelight with the spectacular success of their very first video on YouTube- “South of India”- which was a tribute to South India and had been created to the tune of Billy Joel’s famous “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Uploaded on YouTube in November last year, “South of India” was an instant hit on social media. “The response was shocking. We had no idea that our video would get 1.5 million views on YouTube; this is excluding the views on WhatsApp. It was quite cool”, says Mathivanan. The song attempts to shatter stereotypes about the five states in Southern India with its witty lyrics and fun format, instead of being preachy or snarky. “We wanted to tell people that each state is unique in its own terms,” says Mathivanan. The debut success and the warmth they received from the audience only motivated the EdR to do more. Mathivanan agrees that the online platform gives them the ability to reach a far larger audience than theatre would. But he feels theatre is as important as performing for an online audience. (Image Source: 'Enna Da Rascalas' from Stray Factory/Facebook) “Theatre is important because it is not just about the audience. It allows us to work on and hone our craft. Theatre also allows us to personally interact with our audience, which is not possible in the online platform,” he says. The comedy industry in India is a booming one with a few big names ruling the roost. Does the pressure of competition ever get to them? “Not really”, says Mathivanan, “I don't think there is any competition. The online space is huge and everyone can create their niche audience. It is more about the kind of content you generate.” Enna da Rascalas is currently preparing to perform at the YouTube FanFest in Mumbai on March 20. It is also working on two new videos - one on NRIs and the other on film censorship - which is likely to be released soon. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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