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‘Fukatiya’ folk

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The internet has arrived. Or perhaps it’s been here for too long, and we can’t ignore it anymore. It is a tool waiting to be used, and those who use it will be innovators. Chirag Thakkar speaks to two such pioneers, founders of a fun website; fadoo.tv and self exalted ‘Fukatiyas’ of what might be a new frontier waiting to be conquered.

“We don’t want to wag our tails to make it big! We believe in something of our own.”

Recently a daily newspaper had come out with a campaign called ‘No TV Day,’ where the daily was urging people to skip watching television for a day and indulge in simple pleasures like dine out with family, party, sight-seeing or go out for a weekend. A website called www.fadoo.tv that is into web telecasting mocked the paper’s campaign and came out with a similar looking ad that said, ‘No TV Day, so watch web TV’ So what is this four-month old site fadoo.tv all about? Who are the makers of such a site and what is it that they have to offer? The self proclaimed ‘fukatiyas’, Raj Konar and Prasad Ambre, founders of fadoo.tv host a site that offers web shows, segments that are for the youth and by the youth. The shows vary with content like biking, tattooing, gizmos and gadgets, gaming, ethical hacking, rapping. They have currently started with a show called BTW (by the way) which is a biking show that has celeb bike expert Akshay Varde who talks about bike design and modification and documents passionate bikers and their skills.

A mass media graduate, Raj worked in an ad agency for two years and thought of something like this when he met his friend Prasad at a production house.

Both ‘You tube’ addicts thought of creating something of their own where they have complete creative freedom. “Films, entertainment and multimedia are things I’ve always loved. But wherever you go, there’s always someone commanding, ordering us. The production industry is a world of abuses. You need to report to a hundred people, where the only way to making it big is by wagging your tails,” said Konar, founder of the site who heads the team of ten people working for the site.

There’s certain boldness about the look, the name, the contents and even the cursor that the site has. Plus the site is pretty straightforward in its approach.

There’s a loud and clear tag that reads, ‘if you find anything offensive, press ALT + F4’ that will close down the web page. The cursor is a fist with a middle finger directing a browser to its various pages. Ask them about the lingo, and Konar responds, “That’s how youngsters are. They are not so formal in life. The middle finger is commonly used and can be interpreted in different ways. This is the only way to connect to the youth.”

While some may say that fadoo tv is engaging in stereotyping of the youth, Konar counters saying, “We are targeting fukatiyas like ourselves. There is a certain amount of fukatiyaness in everyone.” So what is this fukatiyaness? “It is passion! Passion for whatever you want to do in life. Even if I’m a 25-year-old with a degree and a nine-to-five job, it is the society and the parents that suppress this fukatiyasness or passion in someone. We don’t want it to die inside you,” exclaims Konar.

There’s a whole bunch of youngsters involved in the making, broadcasting, technicalities, legalities, design and marketing of their channel. All of it voluntary! “Till now we have only chipped in all the money we have. We’re not even earning anything out of this. But we believe our content will become popular and we will grow. Within a year’s gestation time, we will start web advertising, in-video ads, web banners and start paying the artists and core members.”

They group of ‘fukatiyas’ have ventured into the arena where a lot of big names are venturing. Balaji, Endemol and a gamut of other corporate are in the pipeline trying to exploit this booming industry which is already popular in the west. “Today’s urban youth is on the internet all the time. It’s a lucrative market. Besides there’s a lot of junk being sold on television on the name ‘reality shows.’ We all know how real these shows are. A lot times, people are not able to catch up with their favourite shows because of time constraints. Web TV is the answer,” says a 19 year old Ambre studying in third year of commerce and pursuing Chartered Accountancy (CA).

They also plan to start a segment where they will allow young independent filmmakers to upload their short films, documentaries. The team is open to newer ideas and is constantly trying to create innovative devices that the youth will like. So did they not consider social networking, because that’s where most of the youth is? “There are too many players already. It isn’t an easy market to penetrate. Also, mocking something that’s already so popular and just re-packaging and giving them the same thing won’t sell. That’s why we have only focused on web TV. But our site is integrated with facebook and twitter. People can share our contents on their walls,” said Kadam.

While following one’s passion may sound exciting it is imperative to know how much they can afford being a fukatiya. And how long do they intend to? “It took a lot of convincing and persuasion with both family and friends. Even today, when we hear about cousins doing well, I can see the perplexed faces of my parents and their waning hope that I’ll change. But I’m sure; they understand what I am doing. We will only get better and bigger with our work,” said Kadam.

Ambre’s confused whether he should pursue his Chartered Accountancy further or not. “My parents keep saying that all that their son knows is coming home late. You do feel guilty about not making enough money and being dependent but you need to be a little selfish for the long run,” says Konar.

The idea is novel, but it is too male-centric. For someone like me, there’s nothing I can connect to. The makers of Fadoo should try and orchestrate their content that caters to girls too. They should not ignore such a large segment. Fashion, food, fitness, dance, chick flick shows – all of it is missing.”
Tejasvi Desai, Writer

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