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March 26, 2020

Saddam Hussein Vs Hyper Aadi, storm in a tea-cup or indication of a bigger Malaise?

Saddam Hussein and Hyper Aadi 
Before readers conclude that this is about politics, let me clarify. It is about two comedians who are on the rise in Telugu television. Saddam Hussein who became famous with Patas and who is right now doing skits in Zee TV’s Adirindi and Hyper Aadi a famous actor from the popular comedy show Jabardasth.

For all its warts and ugliness, there is no denying the massive popularity of Jabardasth. People scorn, ridicule and feign ignorance. Still, the TRP ratings and the views on prove that indeed Zabardasth is the ultimate comedy show. The content? Let us leave it at that! We get the comedy we deserve, touché!

Show business, especially movies and television are full of long struggles and uncertainty. The stars who made it big after going through struggles, pain, agony, despair, rejections, self-doubts, tribulations are scarred for life. 

Externally they exhibit the signs of success; fashionable clothes, flashy cars, dream houses, lavish lifestyles but internally battle a demon that eats their vitals – insecurity. 

Insecurity affects different people differently. Some become completely withdrawn like Sobhan Babu, the yesteryear Telugu hero who was a recluse once the day’s shoot got over, to party animals like many other actors who party as if the world will end the same night!

But most artistes turn inward and become narcissistic. They start believing that they are supreme and that they can't do anything wrong. This false sense of “I am the greatest” and severe belly gazing can lead to many complications. Sample what our famous Telugu comedians have done.

Brahmanandam, M.S.Narayana, Brahmaji, Gautham Raju, are all popular Telugu comedians who came up the ladder of success, the hard way. But that did not prevent them from launching their sons as heroes in a lavish manner. And Darwin’s theory kicked in – Survival of the fittest. Only the best of the species will survive, in any field. 

The star sons of the famous comedians could not rise up to the competition and have faded out ingloriously or still struggling to find a toe hold in the slippery and elusive Telugu film industry. Yes, many stars sons struggle on and on, for many years. 

But they have the blessings of their fathers, (famous heroes themselves), film producers, distributors, studio owners flush with money. These influential people in the film industry can sustain flop after flop and keep bombarding the audience with repeated films.

With repetitiveness and with familiarity grown with repeated exposure, some of these average actors too survive and are accepted in the film industry. 

But the famous Telugu comedians are not that lucky. They produce a film or two with their sons and then retire licking their wounds and repenting in private. What strikes me as most puzzling is their attitude. When they have come up the hard way, why is that they expect that their children will have it smooth and easy?

I think it is the inherent weakness of the system. Most comedians who came up the hard way are excellent actors and are seasoned like good wine. They see average, mediocre and not very good looking heroes who stammer, struggle and are unable to emote. Many a time, it is the comedians who walk away with the applause and get the appreciation from the filmgoers. 

Check The comedy actor’s film clippings are more popular than those of the film heroes themselves. And in many cases, the most popular heroes' film clips have the comedians acting alongside. This popularity breeds overconfidence, an inflated ego and a feeling that ‘I am invincible”. Allured by this sense of invincibility the comedians launch their sons irrespective of their looks, acting skills or passion into the world of films and burn their hands and lose their hard-earned money and reputation.
Raghu Babu  

Rao Ramesh
There are a couple of exceptions. Giri Babu’s son Raghu Babu and Rao Gopala Rao’s son Rao Ramesh have succeeded. But the differences are glaring. Both of them are not film heroes, and their fathers have not launched them. They came up the hard way and the grind shows. The hard reality is, the road to the top is only through a struggle. 

Yes, the star sons might have a smooth launch, but to sustain the same momentum the grind is unforgiving and equally harsh. So what is needed is to live in the present, be humble and reinvent to remain relevant. One actor who has failed to reinvent and stagnated is Ravi Teja. His antics and loud acting is not cutting any ice with the millennials. They have moved on. This generation is a Vijay Devarakonda generation, and Ravi Teja is blissfully living in the past.

Coming back to the topic, it is reported that Saddam Hussein in an interview has said that his skits on ‘Adirindi’ are viral and that his skits have more views on the YouTube than the skits of Hyper Aadi from Jabardasth. This became a hot topic and the gleeful private YouTube channels have picked the skirmish and turned it into a full-blown confrontation. Saddam vs Hyper Aadi.

Surprisingly both Saddam and Aadi come from humble backgrounds. Both of them are hardworking and should have brushed the matter aside as a minor irritant. But the usually staid and withdrawn Aadi swallowed the bait and jumped into the battle.

In an interview, Aadi reacted angrily to the statement that his skits are less popular than Saddam’s. Aadi contends that Saddam's skits get only 4 to 5 million views whereas his skits garner views of more than 10 million. He goes on to add that one of his skits has garnered a viewership of 50 million, a whopping five crore views.

Narsimha Raju 

Vadi Velu 
This brushed ego is what leads to trouble. Similar egos that have wreaked havoc of many promising careers. Comedian Srilakshmi’s father Amarnath was a good looking Telugu film hero. He spoilt his career by commenting about the famous Telugu duo N.T. Rama Rao and A. Nageshwara Rao who did not take kindly to his comments. And his downfall started from that point. Star Comedian Vadi Velu (Tamil) also faced the same fate due to his remarks about Rajanikanth. Another Telugu hero who suffered the same fate was Narasimha Raju whose comments about the reining Telugu film heroes effectively finished his fledgeling film career.  

So what is the reality? gives statistics on the views. Aadi’s claim that his skits are popular than Saddam’s are valid. Aadi’s skits have been on YouTube for 4 to 5 years. In contrast, Saddam Hussein’s skits from Adirindi are on YouTube only for a few weeks. It is unfair to compare an apple with an orange. Let us compare oranges with oranges. So a comparison has been made between Aadi’s skits and Saddam’s skits over the same period. That is, the skits from the same duration have been compared, and the analysis has been presented in the table below

Table 1
Saddam Hussein Vs Hyper Aadi (YouTube Views for the last Nine weeks*)

Saddam’s Episode telecast date
Total number of views on
Hyper Aadi’s Episode telecast date
Total number of views on
19th January  2020
8.5 Million (1)
23rd January  2020
26th January  2020
4.5 Million
30th January  2020
5.2 (1)
2nd February  2020
6.2 Million
6th February  2020
7.0 (2)
9th February  2020
5.1 Million
13th February  2020
5.1 (Tie)
16th February  2020
5.0 Million (2)
20th February  2020
23rd February  2020
4.6 Million (3)
27th February  2020
1st March 2020
5.6 Million (4)
5th March 2020
8th March 2020
5.4 Million (5)
12th march 2020
15th March 2020
5.1 Million (6)
19th march 2020

Total Views
50 Million

Total Views
38.2 Million

Average views per episode
5.56 Million

Average views per episode
4.24 Million

(*Views as on 1100 hours of 26th March 2020. As Adirindi is telecast on Sunday and Jabardasth on Thursday, the Jabardasth episode nearest to Adirindi that is the next Thursday is taken into consideration. Yes, there is a clear window of four days for viewers to watch the latest of Adirindi before they watch the latest Jabardasth show. Still, as the shows are telecast on different dates, this anomaly can’t be avoided).

Analysis: What Saddam Hussein is claiming is correct. He scores better than Hyper Aadi in 6 out of 9 weeks. Aadi scores more than Saddam in only two weeks that is week two and week 3. Week 4 is a tie between Saddam and Aadi with both sharing the honours at 5.1 million views each.

But after the tie in week four, Saddam steadily pulls away with a lead of 1,00,000 views in week 5, increases it to 2.5 million in week 6, 4.8 million in week 7, 4.4 million in week 8 and 6 million in week 9. The numbers don’t lie! On average, 1.32 million more people watch Saddam Hussein’s skits.  

The momentum is with Saddam Hussein and like Psephogists (election predictors) say, the winner takes it all. In the last week that is week nine, Saddam scores three times as many views as Aadi. Hyper Aadi, the writing is on the wall. There is a worthy competitor, and he is slowly but surely occupying your space. It is undeniable. Shape out or ship out!

March 24, 2020

Great Creativity, Out of box thinking, responding to crisis!

Being simple is the toughest thing in the world. Very often a lot is spent and little is achieved. Always Cite the KISS principle. Keep it short and Simple.

Most Indian advertisements are worth the money that is spent on them. Case in point, please watch "sad Thai advertisements on .They are shot with shoestring budgets but they are much better than our regular Indian movies mounted lavishly spending crores.

But our Indian advertisements and movies (most of them) lack a soul. I quote Mark Twain "it is not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog".

Great work and great creativity. Uncluttered thinking at its best. Thanks are due to Y.Srinivas Rao for giving this information.

March 14, 2020

Oh God Save Us - The Marketers are Coming!

Corona Virus is ruling the world and it is T.O.M (Top of the Mind) in  everyone's  conversation.  People are flexing their regional, country-specific chauvinistic muscles claiming superiority.

They are claiming that some countries will not get the virus because of food habits, skin colour, high temperature etc. Still, many others are claiming wonder cures without any authentication from any reliable sources including the medical fraternity.

As usual, the business community has jumped into the fray. One saree manufacturer is selling Coran Virus sarees. It is not clear if the wearer has to wear the saree before getting the virus or after getting the infection or after testing positive or after getting treatment. Photo Courtesy Dr.Krishna Veni Lankapotu Madam.

So very confusing. The second manufacturer is even better. He is selling Corona Virus-free sofas. So how do I not get Corna Viris simply by sitting on the Sofa? GOK! (God only knows)! Photo Courtesy, Siddhartha Reddy Avija.

Initially, the rumours were that eating meat was dangerous and the sale of chicken, fish and meat nose-dived. The government and the concerned ministers had to eat chicken in public to allay the fears. Slowly the sale of meat and chicken started coming back to normalcy.

Sneha Chicken hits back, It says "Chicken boosts immunity to fight against Corona. IF YOU CAN'T FIGHT THEM, JOIN THEM. It almost appears like a Rajanikanth movie. Only the chicken has to say "Enna rascala' addressing the Corona Virus and the virus would simply be blown away. Picture courtesy Aditya Sunkara.

Oh, almighty save us from these people!

March 10, 2020

Axed, the end of innocence!

Viewers, eye advertisements sceptically. Advertisements are full of exaggerations. One advertisement guru said succulently, “We are always heroes in our own stories”. The positives get glorified and the negatives get swept under the carpet using what else, a Eureka Forbes vacuum cleaner.

What would our mothers do when we soiled our crisp white as white can be, virgin clothes; beat us black and blue to the inch of our lives. They would be breathing fire and destroying anything that comes their way. They would be a tornado, and a tsunami rolled into one.

The saying, “Hell a fury, like a woman scorned” was inspired by an English writer who faced the wrath of his mother, tired of continuously washing his dirty clothes. He penned the saying, “Hell a fury like a woman who has to wash the dirty clothes of her children”! In short, a lady whose children’s clothes are messy knows the pains of getting them back in shape and into the right colour.

But what happens in our advertisements? When the child comes home with dirty clothes, his mother coos, giggles and says with a bright (Colgate) smile, “Daag Accha hai (stain is good)” she looks happy as if her son has just bagged the first rank in IIT examination.

My friend’s wife who sits beside him and suffers the barrage of advertisements, sarcastically commented, “Why not, she gets paid a bomb for saying all that non-sense. Give me that much money, and I will wash all the mohalla’s (neighbourhood) clothes without a murmur”.

Advertisements leave an indelible impression in the minds of the children who can’t distinguish fact from fiction. My friend Murthy remembered an incident when his son was in seventh grade. He was indulging in a conspiratory conversation with his mother. His mother gave an all-knowing smile, and some money changed hands.  

Murthy did not make much of it. But the next day or two his son would go out triumphant like a king and return in the evening miserable and down in the dumps. Curiosity aroused to the point of no return, Murthy confronted his wife and asked, “What is happening? Why is he (his son) behaving in this strange fashion?”.

“I will tell you later”, whispered his wife throwing glances hither and thither. It was a scene out of a James Bond movie. Murthy almost expected her to snap, “Classified information mister. Only on a need to know basis”.

Later in the night, she unravelled the mystery to Murthy. She was at her best, “The cat who had all the cream look’ plastered on her face, “He (our son) is approaching puberty. He wanted to test his masculine charm. The test failed” It was as if the number eleven batsman had hit the fastest bowler in the world for six sixes, in an over!

“What masculine charm? What testing?” Murthy was clutching at straws. Throwing a pitiful glance, his wife explained, speaking slowly as if she was addressing an overgrown imbecile, “He saw the advertisement of AXE perfume and tested it. THAT’S ALL”. The imbecile said, “Je ne Comprends pas” (I don’t understand in French).

“Don’t throw your pathetic French at me”, she snapped, “You claim yourself to be a marketing professional. Don’t you remember the iconic AXE perfume advertisement?”

Wisdom dawned on Murthy. The advertisement that she is talking features a man who sprays himself with liberal doses of AXE perfume. Pesto he is chased by young, curvy, petite, beautiful, cute, young women. They are desperate to have a piece of him (literally, any part of him is okay).

Murthy’s son it seemed, had a similar idea. He sprayed himself with liberal doses of AXE perfume and went out. It dawned slowly on Murthy as to why their dog was looking sick for the last three days and why she would slink to the corner of the room, the minute she saw his son. (Apparently what attracted young women to men was quite a nasty noseful to her).

To cut a long story short, despite wearing the AXE perfume continuously for three days, not one girl, dame, lady, women, madam, lass, filly or any person of feminine gender chased the boy. He was bitterness personified.

“Forget about chasing; they did not even look at me!!!!”, he complained. But you can’t keep a kid down, for long. Murthy’s prodigal son, an eternal book worm, brightened visibly and said, glibly, “But of course there is a silver lining. I am sure I will never get Malaria in my life”. “How is that?” asked his puzzled mother.

“What amma!”, he exclaimed, “The cause of Malaria is FEMALE Anopheles mosquito. And with the amount of AXE perfume on me, I am sure no female species of any kind will bother me” he added melancholically, “For a lifetime”. He left his mother goggling like a goldfish out of the water, completely helpless. 

March 08, 2020

The ever twisting saga of Jabardasth the Ultimate comedy Show (part I)

Telugus throughout the world always loved comedy. Comedy is close to our hearts, and it is not a surprise that mimicry, parody and slapstick is part and parcel of our life. No movie could be made without a decent comedy track. Many comedy stars’ have flourished and have found stardom that would be the envy of many mainstream heroes and heroines. Actors like Relangi and Brahmanandam have straddled generation and have won space in the hearts of crores of Telugus. 

Jabardasth the Comedy show had a humble beginning on 7th February 2013. No one at that time thought the heights that the show would scale in the years to come. Jabardast the ultimate comedy show is a copy of the Hindi entertainment show “Comedy Circus”. The hosts in that show were Archana Puran Singh and Sohail Khan (Salman Khan’s younger brother). 
Copy cats they were, Mallamala productions were faithful to copy to the final dot. They picked up Roja, the actress for her obvious glamour quotient as the first judge. They picked up the younger brother of megastar Chiranjeevi, Nagababu as the second judge. The similarity was stark; Chiranjeevi in Telugu was what Salman Khan was, in Hindi. If it is Sohail Khan in Hindi, then it had to be Nagababu in Telugu. Jabardast proved the saying “imitation is the best form of flattery” to the last full stop! 

Very strangely except Archana Puran Singh (who at least had a very hearty laugh), all the others were not adept at comedy. Roja is known for her charming smile and was a firebrand political activist and a member of a political party. Sohail Khan at best acted in some very forgettable movies. Nagababu appeared in many films but was not an accomplished actor. Comedy was never his forte. But being a younger brother of a famous movie actor helps. 

Jabardasth started and hit the proverbial bull's eye. The ever vivacious and bubbly nature of the host Anasuya Bharadwaj made the show get even more eyeballs. The show became popular, and the first controversy hit it hard – the content.

There was criticism that the show was vulgar, encouraged regressive thinking, ill-treated women and that it had many men playing lady roles. Men playing lady roles was initially frowned upon. It was an obvious inspiration (in India a self-consoling term that  justifies  blatant copying) from the “Comedy show with Kapil” which also had the same concept. Men played lady roles. 

Awkward as it was, somehow the absurd way the lady roles played by men found acceptance both at a national level and at the regional level with Jabardasth. Discomfort remained, and viewers squirmed in their chairs when actors like Chammak Chandra hitched his saree up almost to his thighs and uttered double entendres (double meaning dialogues). 

The degradation and playing comedy to below the belt was taking deep roots and well on its way on becoming mainstream. The show was giving a rude burial to the subtle comedy that Jandhyala championed. Despite objections and discomfort that many viewers felt, the show started climbing the charts. It established itself as the most popular Telugu comedy show. 

Keep rocking COCO-TANG

Congratulations COCO-TANG. A lot has been happening with this dynamic start-up company from Hyderabad in the last week.

They got an invite from the British High Commission. They gave a presentation about the company at the British council, Chennai. The Prime minister's office has recognised their efforts and Zee TV gave them national coverage.

In our small way, we too at SSIM (Siva Sivani Institute of Management), have contributed our wee bit in the success of COCO-TANG. COCO-TANG has been introduced to SSIM by Dr. A. Muralidhara Prasad, Professor and head Entrepreneurship cell at SSIM. Dr. Muralidhara Prasad is a registered trainer and mentor of BYST.

Through Dr. A. Muralidhara Prasad sir, I got in touch with COCO-TANG, and the bond grew over the years. Coco Tang has been seeking my advice on issues related to marketing.

It is a delight to work with the dynamic duo Dr. Neelima Veluri and her husband Mr. Chaitanya. They are very warm individuals and very down to earth. Dr. Madhusudan Kota and I have written a case study about COCO-TANGthat was published in Emerald international.

I am delighted at your success COCO-TANG team. May you scale more heights: God speed and all the best.