Last month, some Indians finally had closure. They found the perfect, honest words for places they’ve always struggled to describe. So St Stephen’s was the college which ‘cut-off se fuck-off hone pe majboor kar deta hai’. And New York was the city ‘jahan TV ghar pe nahi-road pe hote hain’. And dropping these truth bombs on us was a voice that was uncannily similar to poet-actor Piyush Mishra’s, but was identified as Fitoor Mishra in an Arré video.
The video in question was a review of the Half-Girlfriend trailer, which had already sparked a plethora of memes and jokes.
So who is Fitoor Mishra? Contrary to popular opinion which seems to think it’s the multi-talented Piyush Mishra, the voice and words behind Fitoor Mishra Reviews is actually a 24-year-old Oriya boy Anahad Madhav.
All of two videos old at this point, Fitoor Mishra Reviews is a deliciously humorous, abrasive take on things that bother Madhav. So far, the trailers for Half Girlfriend and Baahubali 2 have made it to his hit list. Mishra’s language–a fusion of contemporary Hindi, Urdu and English–peppered with dollops of sarcasm, has the country hooked.
Madhav is an English literature graduate from Delhi University who joined Arré six months ago as a writer on one of its digital properties. “Fitoor Mishra is edgy and funny. He calls people out on their bullsh*t. He says things others secretly wish to say–and in a way that makes you laugh. Anahad is not funny. He is very shy. He just sits in the corner of a room and writes,” Madhav tells us.
“Half Girlfriend was an afterthought,” shares Sharan Saikumar, editor of Arré. The initial plan was to release IPL commentary videos (called Commentarré) in actor, lyricist and poet Piyush Mishra’s voice and dialogue delivery style. But they never released those videos for some reason.
“Sagar Shah from our team had done an English spoof on the movie trailer and it was well received. Next day, we were debating whether we should do one in Fitoor Mishra style or would two consecutive trailer spoofs of the same movie be an overkill. But then Anahad came up to me with what he had written and it was excellent. We went ahead with it and it just exploded.”
Stats Alert: 1.5 million views, 15,000 shares; 23,000 comments, and over 25,000 likes. These were numbers for the first Half Girlfriend spoof on Facebook alone. Amongst these numbers were thumb up from the likes of National Award winning lyricist Varun Grover to celebrated film critics to not-so-celeb users on our timelines.
The reactions to the two videos haven’t all been congratulatory. Some people, celebs and otherwise, have raised objections as well. For the Baahubali 2 spoof, for instance, Saikumar was anticipating a lot of hate because for a piece that broached the topic of the movie’s budget got a lot of hate. “There were 118 comments where people were just yelling at us. But when Fitoor Mishra did it, there was only love, no hate. Of the 3,000 reactions on the video on Facebook, there wasn’t one angry reaction.
But there have been a lot of “surprised” reactions, mostly from Madhav’s family. Ever since the first video was out, his mother has mostly been in denial, on several aspects of the video. Initially it was hard for her to believe her son can actually mimic Piyush Mishra’s voice.
“Even when I gave her a demo on call, she said it may be sounding a certain way on the phone but mustn’t be this accurate while recording. She thinks someone else or Piyush Mishra himself is doing the vocals–much like a lot of people who checked and double checked with me in the past two weeks. She’s also in denial of the fact that her little child is capable of using cuss words. “Do you have to say those words,” she has asked him.
Has the Fitoor Mishra Review reached its key inspiration Piyush Mishra yet? Apparently, Rahul Ram of Indian Ocean (band) shared it with him and he seems to have loved it.
Also, just saying, Salman Khan’s Tubelight trailer has been out for a while isn’t it?