Old Is Gold: 6 Naadan Parodies of the West You May Have Forgotten

Thanks to the lockdown, my YouTube surfing has peaked. And you know how YouTube is: You start with the highlights of a memorable Indo-Pak match, and one hour later you’re watching (for the hundredth time) Sreesanth’s iconic dance after hitting Nel for a six. This zone may creep into CCL territory: now you’re seeing clips of Lalettan’s bowling. Now that you’ve entered the funny videos space, there’s a flurry of good recommendations that come. If you’re lucky enough, you come across some really old, really funny, nostalgic stuff. Like I did the other day: ‘Welcome to India’ just popped up on my feed and I was hearing it after ages. And it was a rabbit hole from there, I kid you not.

But this binge-watch got me thinking how, in those days, content – forget good content, just any content – was so sparse. Online entertainment was provided not by official channels of big labels and influencers, but by random low production-quality clips uploaded from personal accounts. Some of this went crazy viral, but I feel the creators ended up not getting due credit. So here’s a hat tip to some of those videos – specifically, parody videos – that once rocked the Internet. 

Neela Bucket

“Aa bucket eduthondu poya aalde pidi kittiyo?”
“Illa. Aa bucket inte pidi kitti!”

Composed and shot by some students in the CET men’s hostel, this parody of 50 Cent’s Candy Shop is legendary because it’s probably one of the first Malayalam rap songs to make waves online. I really want to get into the head of the guy who thought: Oh, let’s take a song with super sexual overtones and make it about a guy cribbing over his lost bucket!

Rapper Thirumali continued the story from where it left, with his recent track “Blue Bucket Rebirth” indicating the Return of the Bucket (It goes “Bucket thirikey vannalo!”) Clearly, the bucket is a pop culture icon here!

I Am A Malayalee 

This parody of Queen’s “I Want to Break Free” is…zimbly osom. Created by Kuwait-based Malayalis Yohan Chacko and Jaison George, this song was THE anthem for Malayalis around the globe, in the 2000s. And it’s not surprising, considering the number of naadan references peppered over the song. 

Favourite line: “I am a Malayalee, I wear a Pink Lungi!”

Welcome To India

Released in 2002, this parody of Ludacris’ “Welcome to Atlanta” is the most lyrically perfect one on this list. Created by comedic duo MC Vikram and LudaKrishna (remember them?), the song takes you back to the early days of YouTube. It was a time when Indians weren’t too acquainted with the rap scene, and these two guys got everyone to not only accept their rap but also roll with laughter. 18 years on, and the “kundis are still jiggling”! (Check out their other songs as well, like Curry and Rice Girl. YouTube Gold.)

Hotel Keralafornia 

Recorded in 2006 by the same team of uncles who did ‘I am a Malayalee’ (under the name “Yeagles”) this song offers quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. You may think how a song that originally haunted millions of people (Hotel California by The Eagles) could be parodied. But somehow it just fits perfectly. When “We just can’t kill the beast” is replaced by “We just can’t cut that beef“, you know it can’t get better. 

Laka Laka

This take on “Waka Waka” did go viral at the time of the 2010 World Cup for obvious reasons, but…if there’s one song on this list that just hasn’t aged well, it has to be this. The heavy sounding lyrics just don’t suit the breezy, sporty vibe of the music. Maybe it comes under the same category of those commercialized devotional songs that use tunes from popular movie songs. Oh shit. No, we’re not mocking devotional songs, we’re mocking the commercialisation of…anyway, Laka Laka is great if you’re up for a nostalgic cringe fest. 

Poyi Pani Nokkadi

We don’t know if this is a parody per se, but well….Thiruvalla-based rapper Achayan takes Akon’s “Her Shoes”, recreates the same beats and adds his rap verses in between, and headlines it as an Achayan song FEATURING Akon (Lol). Next time someone tells you Akon’s first Indian album is Ra.One, show them THIS. The rap verses start off with “Nee illathe jeevitham enikku enthuadi” and end with “Ishtamallengil poyi pani nokkadi”! A must-listen, if you haven’t. 

Have I missed anything? If I have, let us know in comments. 

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