Tadpatri Talkies Hunger For More
The Mumbai comedy group have released their uproarious debut
album of rap tunes that takes aim at desi hip-hop
For a few months, Mumbai comedy group Tadpatri Talkies experimented with everything they loved about humor—the absurdity, the surreal narratives and more showing rather than telling. And then they created Gari-B, a rap persona for former heavy metal vocalist Sidharth Raveendran, who loved his bhel.
In late 2016, Sidharth, Anmol Gawand (who raps under the moniker EMF and is now Badboy Bandya), Aseem Chandaver (formerly a writer at comedy content company All India Bakchod), Gaurang Bailoor, Nandan Kini and Nikhil Vaiude began in the most DIY manner possible, not garnering too much hype beyond their circles. But then, they introduced the oversized Tshirt-sporting, sunglasses-rocking Gari-B, stuffing his mouth with bhel as he parodied everything about the trend-hoppers who wanted to be me-too desi rappers.
Bailoor says, “The year has been quite the roller coaster of happy accidents. We started off with shooting something that is still stuck at the edit table, which will hopefully see the light of day, by the end of the year, but we chose to focus on the momentum that Gari-B generated.”
Originally, it felt like Tadpatri Talkies would stick to Delta News, their dramatic silent short segments which breached horror and comedy at the same time, with only visual punchlines. But at the end of the year, they’ve released Bhookh, a comedy hip-hop album that’s got not just laughs, but tight delivery of rhymes that could just match up with the best rap releases this year. Kini says all credit for creating an album this solid goes to Gawand (Badboy Bandya is a protégé of Gari-B in the Tadpatri universe), Bailoor—who created the idea—and Sidharth. Kini adds jokingly, “Put the three together in a room, Saw-style, and you know they’ll turn out a breakout hit.”
Of course, Indian audiences are sometimes known to not get the joke, or rather run in the opposite direction with it and take offense. While their lead single “Gari-B Ki Kahaani” did garner some sour grapes, it was hyped with photo-ops with desi rap’s poster boys, Divine and Naezy hanging with Gari-B. Bailoor says, “What has really surprised us is how the idea has made the scene develop a funny bone, which is rare these days, and they have enjoyed the content with a grain of salt.”
The 11-track Bhookh is theatrical in some ways—a presentation that has carried over at the Gari-B and Friends gigs in Mumbai— but always targeted. “Scooty Wali Ladki” is typically heartbreak hero in Bollywood, while “Fuck the Gari-B” is a heavier, faster song, and “Gutternaak Flow” is a brilliant takedown of mumble rap. And it’s all part of their live show as well, with a few props and introduction from Chandaver, who dons the role of a carefree avuncular host.
What does a dream Gari-B and Friends show involve? Everyone has different ideas. Kini envisons a Broadway-style show at the Royal Opera House, Chandaver says, “A dream show would involve full-fledged live sketches meets songs meets interviews meets live ritual sacrifice along with the whole ensemble of rappers and fellow actors.” Sidharth adds, “Having Baba Sehgal perform with us on stage. Have a blurb written by Style Bhai on the event poster. Have huge projections and big-ass stage production where our music videos segue into the songs, like Michael Jackson’s This Is It.”
With Bhookh out of the way, Tadpatri Talkies may put Gari-B on the backburner, apart from occasional shows and more music videos. Kini says, “The big idea that we’ve sort of crystallized for 2018 involves weaponizing our brainfarts to lethal levels.”
This article appeared in the December 2017 issue of Rolling Stone India .
Listen to ‘Bhookh’ here.