With Mal­ice for All

Karthik Lax­man 29 C.S. Kr­ishna 33 FOUNDER The Un­real Times, Delhi

India Today - - THE IDEAS FACTORY - By Devika Chaturvedi

Do we have the abil­ity to laugh at our­selves? Two IIM

A grad­u­ates are test­ing our hu­mour quo­tient with a web­site that pokes fun at all and sundry, es­pe­cially politi­cians. Karthik Lax­man and C.S. Kr­ishna were in ru­ral Bi­har work­ing full-time with a BJP MP on de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives in his con- stituency, Pur­nia, when they turned to hu­mour for re­lief. “We posted a blog af­ter the 2011 Union Bud­get on how drop­ping money bags from the sky was the best way to im­ple­ment a di­rect cash trans­fer pro­gramme for poverty al­le­vi­a­tion. We got such a kick out of it that we went on to start The Un­real

I love their satir­i­cal take on cur­rent af­fairs. To get comic re­lief while be­ing able to fol­low a top­i­cal mat­ter is al­ways wel­come.

Gul panag, Film ac­tor

Times in April 2011,” says Lax­man. The web­site is man­aged by them as an al­ter­na­tive pas­sion and has al­ready had a few hit videos, es­pe­cially one of Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh, as Man­mo­han Sing­ham, de­stroy­ing price rise and cor­rup­tion with his fly­ing kicks. “A few Congress sup­port­ers filed a com­plaint against us. But slowly the is­sue died down,” says Lax­man. Then there was this hi­lar­i­ous piece on a

CNN broad­cast jour­nal­ist in­ter­view­ing Bollywood ac­tor Im­ran Khan, tak­ing him for his name­sake, the Pak­istani crick­eter-turned-politi­cian. “The Im­ran story was an in­stant hit in Pak­istan; In­di­ans no­ticed it only there­after,” says Lax­man. The Delhi-based duo is now fo­cus­ing on build­ing a strong reader base and on up­load­ing con­tent that doesn’t ma­lign any­one but lights up peo­ple’s faces. “Writ­ing a piece for The Un­real Times al­lows us to flush out our frus­tra­tions through a creative out­let. Im­por­tantly, it com­ple­ments our work on pol­icy is­sues,” says Kr­ishna. For now, they make money through the ad­ver­tise­ments. Sus­te­nance of a web­site de­mands only Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 as host­ing charges.

Se­ri­ous Busi­ness The Un­real Times gets around 2,000 hits daily on an av­er­age, 10,000 on a re­ally good day. A reg­u­larly up­dated Twit­ter ac­count draws in more readers ev­ery pass­ing day.

In­spired Idea The duo has mod­elled their site on Bri­tish satir­i­cal web­site Th­es­poof.co.uk and hopes to take In­dian po­lit­i­cal hu­mour to the level of Amer­i­can web­sites such as Theonion.com.

H.K.RA­JASHEKAR/ www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

VIKRAM SHARMA/ www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

LAX­MAN (LEFT) AND KR­ISHNA

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