Four YouTube content creators draw attention with a brand of comedy that tackles current topics with a Dakhni flavour

Old-timers of Hyderabad can never have enough of the peculiar Dakhni variety that blends Urdu and Hindi languages, a tongue that was born and nurtured in this region of Telangana during the Nizam’s reign. Dakhni may not find a place in mainstream entertainment now, but its appeal is spreading beyond the city, drawing content creators and audiences the world over. A quick glance at some YouTube channels that tap into the comic potential of the lingo and are being lapped up.

Slice of Deccan life from Saudi Arabia

Ebadur Rahman and Azhar Hussain of Deccan Drollz | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

When Azhar Hussain and Ebadur Rahman are not working as sales and project managers, they are known as Ajju and Lala Bhai dishing out Hyderabadi comedy through their Deccan Drollz YouTube channel which has already logged over 187k subscribers.

The duo, who are childhood friends born and brought up in Saudi Arabia, had come to Hyderabad, India, to pursue higher education. Even after they returned to Saudi, the Dakhni dialect stayed with them.

Back home, their jokes and imitations in Hyderabadi lingo became popular among friends and at family gatherings. “The idea to start a channel came to us in 2016”, says Azhar over a call,adding, “Ebadur not only writes scripts but took the initiative to start the channel.” Ebadur’s dubsmash video rolled things for them and soon they began to lip-sync for funny videos and Ebadur also began to write scripts.

Screenshot of a Deccan Drollz video  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

As comic characters Ajju and Lala Bhai, the duo present current issues with a dash of Hyderabadi humour. Azhar explains their creative process, “It takes a lot of time to write and improvise the scripts, dialogues and expressions. Our jobs kept us busy during the day and initially it was tough to enact in front of a camera.”

Their focus is to present saaf suthra (clean) humour. “Hyderabadi words nakko, hau, kidhar jaare bhai evoke laughter but the motto of our channel is to make clean content so that a family can watch and enjoy,” shares Azhar.

Deccan (relates to Hyderabad) Drollz (skits) videos also try to bring awareness on current issues like COVID-19 and social issues — dowry and respect for elders. “We want to educate the youth but with some laughter.”

With a touch of craziness

Shehbaaz Khan of Kiraak Hyderabadiz | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Talk to Shehbaaz Khan of Shehbaaz Khan and Kiraak Hyderabadiz channels fame (1.04 million subscribers) and the mimicry artiste with a deep baritone can regale you in 80 different voices. This former electrical contractor began his journey in creativity in 2013, with a video on mimicry. Hugely inspired by Kadar Khan and Johhny Lever, Shehbaaz first launched his own YouTube channel and later collaborated with his partner Imran Khan (an anchor with a local news channel) to launch Kiraak Hyderabadiz. “We wanted something unique and Hyderabadi and finally zeroed in on ‘Kiraak Hyderabadiz’. Hyderabadis use kiraak in their day to day lives; it is an expression that can mean different things, even in praise of someone.”

The initial days were tough with no props or equipment to shoot. He recalls, “I used to request friends with smartphones to lend them or to help us in editing. We were novices in creating good content and have worked hard to improve and build our audience.”

They do observational comedy with realistic themes. “I am from a middle-class family and find humour in every situation, including fights. We write our thoughts and build them to create a story. Continuity matters a lot and we ensure the shots are synchronised; people like watching them because the videos feel like a serial ”

Noor Bhai, a unique character played by Shehbaaz, is based on those who are confident and never accept their mistake. He adds, “In Hyderabad, we say gire toh gire par apni taang upar. Noor bhai is based on people who like to boast and show off and never accept their mistakes. We also drive in a message in the videos.”

Their recent video Hum Hindustani, posted on Shehbaaz Khan channel is on Hindu-Muslim unity. “Our mission is to steal tears and bring a smile on peoples’ faces,” he signs off.

To promote Dakhni language

Mohd Abdul Razaak of Golden Hyderabadiz | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

An engineering graduate, Mohd Abdul Razaak had no connection with comedy. He made videos to bring awareness on social issues, but they didn’t get any attention. Then he launched the Golden Hyderabadiz channel on YouTube (139 K subscribers) to talk on issues, laced with humour. “I once did a video to raise awareness against smoking but it was hardly noticed. But when I added humorous content, people lapped it up,” he shares.

The Golden Hyderabadiz team  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Abdul feels not everyone appreciates Dakhni . He says, “They do not understand its distinct character. I wanted to promote the language through my videos.” While he writes and directs the scripts, a team of 10 helps him create the content and act; the videos are shot in the Old City of Hyderabad. Tu Tu Main Main (bickering between a husband and wife), frontbenchers vs backbenchers, love breakup, arguments with parents are a few of their themes.

Abdul also enacted a Hyderabadi character in the film Lal Captain and has recently completed an untitled Dakhni web series. The team releases a comedy video every Saturday and a social awareness one every Wednesday. “Our USP lies in the technical details; our videos are shot well,” he claims.

Of traits and characteristics

Nabeel Afridi of Warangal Diaries  

Hasaane mein mazaa aata hai; log khush hote hain,” exults Mohd Nabeel Afridi of Warangal Diaries (11 lakh,35 K subscribers.) Hailing from Warangal district in Telangana, Nabeel calls his videos special as they have ‘Warangal masala’ in them. With no YouTubers from Warangal, he decided to put his district on the social media map. “The Dakhni dialect that people speak here is slightly different from the one spoken in Hyderabad. Warangal people shorten the words and some even speak with a Telugu mix; We love to portray real characters,” he says.

A screenshot of a video by Warangal Diaries | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Launched in 2016, Warangal Diaries focus on people’s personality traits. Often Nabeel dons the avatar of Yakub Pichi, a guy with a funny wig and accent. Apart from Nabeel who acts, edits and shoots, actors include his elder brother Sharjeel Ali, who also writes scripts, and Rehan Waqar. The videos take a cue from trending topics like festivals and wedding celebrations during COVID-19

With this enterprise, Nabeel hopes to fulfil his dream to be an actor, unlike his father, a forest department employee who couldn’t fulfil his dream of becoming a singer, for lack of support. The versatile Nabeel is into modelling, photography, dancing and singing and also featured in a music video titled Kismat. He shares, “There has been a surge in views during lockdown; Warangal Diaries got more than 2 lakh subscribers .”

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