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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 Some become completely withdrawn like Sobhan Babu, the yesteryear Telugu hero who was a recluse once the day’s shoot got over, to party animals like many other actors who party as if the world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!

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