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Watching, Streaming, and Other Things to Do with TV Nalin Mehta

About a Qtiyapa In early 2014, when India’s over four hundred TV news channels were enmeshed in a bitter fight for ratings to cover the most significant election of their lifetimes—with then-challenger Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) taking on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in a presidential-style campaign—many experimented with political satire. Aaj Tak, India’s leading Hindi news network, for instance, changed its prime-time programming to create a daily special election–focused comedy show hosted by Bollywood actor Shekhar Suman.1 Yet, the production that came to symbolize political satire in that election did not come from any one of the mainstream TV channels. It came from a web start-up called The Viral Fever (TVF) and its Qtiyapa series of spoofs had already become a new buzzword for “cool” on college campuses. The word qtiyapa itself is a derivative pun on a popular Hindi cussword that very roughly denotes idiocy. Some of the early Qtiyapa successes came from nonpolitical themes, such as spoofs on film songs or TV shows, before its makers turned their gaze toward the election fever gripping the country. “Bollywood-Aam Aadmi Party,” a Qtiyapa TVF Video, spoofing India’s most highly watched news anchor Arnab Goswami and Aam Aadmi party leader Arvind Kejriwal, leader of another successful political start-up in Delhi, debuted on YouTube in February 2014 and quickly went viral, garnering over five million views.2 A year later during another epochal election, this time for the province of Delhi, TVF managed an encore with another political satire video, Barely Speaking with Arnub. Released the day before the Delhi assembly results were Harvard South Asia Institute 47

Technology and South Asia  
Technology and South Asia  

The Harvard South Asia Institute presents its third annual publication, a collection of essays by professionals from diverse disciplines abo...