This post is part of the People’s Insights monthly brief for August.
In late 2013, young Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt incorrectly answered a general knowledge question on a popular Indian talk show Koffee with Karan. She immediately became the talk of the town, with ‘Alia is so dumb…’ jokes spreading all over the internet. The jokes are quite harmless and hilarious, but the 21 year-old risked getting branded as a beauty with no brains.
Then, in August, Alia starred in a 10 minute mockumentary about the impact of the jokes on her life, produced by the Indian comedy club AIB. The video is called “Genius of the Year,” a parody of her first movie “Student of the Year” and follows her as she joins the ‘ Dumb Belle Mental Gym’ to prepare for a follow up quiz.
At 5 million views in its first 10 days, its safe to say she’s become the talk of the town again – but for much better reasons.Source: youtube.com/watch?v=pfHxl46KyZM
The Genius of the Year sketch features a star studded cast – host of the talk show Karan Johar himself (also one of Bollywood’s top directors), director Shakun Batra, director/producer/screenwriter Mahesh Bhatt (also Alia’s dad), Alia’s latest co-star Arjun Kapoor and her actress friend Parineeti Chopra. Not to mention comedian Rohan Joshi from AIB.
The mockumentary begins with Alia’s fans, friends and family making fun of her, and her decision to join a ‘mental gym.’ At the gym, she is subject to exercises like reading the newspaper and is put on a diet of literary books. Like most movies around training the underdog, her trainer soon finds the ‘Alia way’ to teach her and the video segues into re-writes of Bollywood songs, dancing and a smarter Alia.
She then goes back to the talk show Koffee with Karan and answers all questions correctly, thus restoring her reputation. Until the end of the mocumentary ofcourse, in which she ‘forgets’ that India has had a female Prime Minister.
Watch the Video: AIB Alia Bhat Genius of the Year
People loved it. The video went viral immediately – in large part because of AIB’s half a million subscribers on YouTube, Alia’s 2 million followers on Twitter and the massive support from Bollywood celebrities on social media.
Viewers found the video to be a comic hit, and loved that the actress was willing to make fun of herself.
We think it’s a great example of PR done right, and we will leave you with this inside joke – a few days before the video was published, the cast was afraid the Alia jokes would die down and that they’d have to re-fuel the critics.