It has been a couple of months sinceGully Boy brought rap back into the mainstream, but it looks like Indian politicians still haven’t got over it. This week, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched a new rap video for first-time voters.
In the video, people in shiny, oversized clothes are trying really hard to give out gangster vibes, while rapping about “the one, one and only one”.
Imagine blue, green, yellow and red thrown at you all at once. But when you do get past visuals of the dancers dressed like rainbows or unicorn dust (take your pick), the lyrics seem to be telling the youth about all the wonderful things Modi has done for the country—cheaper home loans, toor dal (yes, there is a jar of toor dal in there), many many jobs and cheap mobile data. Judging by the number of things crammed in there, it looks like the people who wrote the lyrics weren’t very sure what first-time voters want.
Also, is this really rap or just random words strung together and recorded along with a random sound track? Listen for yourself.
This isn’t the first rap video though. Last month, Congress and BJP had a rap battle on Twitter. Thankfully, that wasn’t an original rap like this one. Both the parties decided that it would be okay to take the Azaadi song from Gully Boy to serve their political agenda.
HuffPost India’s Piyasree Dasgupta had pointed out that even the Azaadi song in Gully Boy was a watered-down version of the one from 2016, which asked for freedom from caste structures and patriarchy. But oh, the sweet irony of mainstream political parties, and especially the BJP, using the song associated with Kanhaiya Kumar and JNU students in their campaigns!
Naezy and Divine (whose lives Gully Boy is based on) came to the limelight by rapping about their struggles in the slums of Mumbai. They used their powerful lyrics to speak of their struggles, to question the establishment and as a form of protest. But this election season, irony is dying many deaths as the establishment appropriates the form to churn out cringeworthy rap videos for their own benefit.