Very often you visit a foreign country and wish somehow you introduced the same thing back in your motherland; be it a business entrepreneurship idea, an awareness campaign, a social work initiative or even simple things like their cuisine, art and crafts.
This group of friends, or as they like to call themselves ‘Jajeer Talkies – An edgy comedy group from Kashmir’, had something different in their minds. They brought a much much-needed laughter to Kashmir, something the presence of which was long overdue in our society.
In a place of conflict like Kashmir, any other day can be a day of mourning for us; any other day, any of us may witness bloodshed first-hand; yes, we mourn, we resist, but we do not stop, neither do we give up on life. Amid all this, Jajeer Talkies is something that gives us reasons to smile, not just for regular jokes, but reasons to smile and be grateful for simply being ‘Kashmiris’.
Their humour has that indigenous touch to it. Every single meme, podcast, dub, vine, stand up of theirs relates to us in a Kashmiri baradari way. Be it their ‘Dilbar Conductor Mushaira’, Akbar Lone roasts or Gulzar Peer memes, everything about JT has a bit of Koshur Tasne in it.
Here’s one of my favourite dubs they’ve made:
Here’s one more:
I’ve been following Jajeer Talkies ever since its inception, I have witnessed their best of times and the worst of times (when their facebook page was deleted in 2016, we’ll come back to that later); now that when they revealed who they really are, I got an opportunity to interview them.
Q: What inspired you to be ‘Jajeer Talkies’?
JT: The inception dates back to 2012. But we started in 2015. Back when us friends joined social media, there were very few Kashmiris, and just like all others, we had no clue what to do. Then slowly we learned about this new world and became a part of it. Starting from Orkut, we later joined Facebook. And saw an even broader and different world. That’s when people from Kashmir flooded Facebook and started to become a part of it. It was then, we came across humour pages from India. And it didn’t take some fellow Kashmiris to start Kashmiri humour pages. But they were only a Kashmiri translation of already made memes, which always, were the ones we had seen.
Our source of humour was the WhatsApp group between us friends, where we used to make our own jokes and share it with the others. And one day, 24th march to be precise, we started our Facebook page.And that’s just it.
A detailed info about our inception and our name are in our first podcast, which is available on our YouTube channel.
Here are a few notable submissions JT recieved in their ‘Dilbar Conductor Mushaira’:
Q: Doing humor in Kashmir comes with a lot of challenges and hurdles. I have seen many people sometimes being all the praise for you and sometimes not, but you have emerged above the herd and been able to deliver yet the best and original content on your platform. What are the major challenges you face?
JT: There are plenty of those. The primary being the lack of understanding of various kinds of humour amongst the Kashmiri people. This is primarily because we chose to follow comics, humour pages since the very beginning of our social media life, and the others may have chosen to follow something else. And the three of us were always into standup comedy, while most of our then friends were busy in Roadies and other such stuff.
It’s not that we’re better or have more knowledge, it’s just while the other people are on a different page, we’re in a different book entirely.
If we had a penny everytime people were offended by our posts. Too bad, these notes do not even count now.
Q: I have been following you ever since you started you facebook page, it felt like I had developed an emotional connection with it. Then, when in 2016 your page was suddenly taken off facebook along with thousands of Kashmiri pages and accounts, it was a very painful memory. What are your thoughts on this?
JT: It was unfortunate, not just because we were banned. But we were banned on a platform and in a country which flaunts about the freedom of speech to its citizens.
Q: Now that you have tens of thousands of followers across your social media presence; do you believe you have a social responsibility towards humour in Kashmir? If yes, what is it?
JT: Since we’ve been told (on many occasions) that our sense of humour is pretty good. We try to educate those people who’s idea of humour is still limited to insults, voice overs of interviews or grossly photoshopped images.
It will be and is our success if people understand and appreciate the new generation stand up comedy content.
Q: So the connection with your followers part. Do you feel there’s a special bond between JT and its fans/followers?
JT: Most certainly there is. It was evident when our page was removed from facebook, our followers shared the sorrow. We feel like all of us (JT and its followers) are on a journey together. This was even more clear when we started doing live sessions on Instagram. And we believe, together on this journey, we’ll ultimately be able to contribute to a happier and healthier Kashmir.
Q: Friends, when working together with passion, can come up with amazing stuff, for example, Jajeer Talkies. What do you think is special about the chemistry between you three?
JT: Our brains work like a LAN connection. We’re three different people with one brain when it comes to humour. We don’t even talk verbally to communicate. We just look at each other. This is probably what happens when you’re friends with someone for over 10 years now.
The mutual consent has been the primary reason behind our many viral posts and the amount of success (as small as it is) we have today.
And the fact that 3 friends get to do the stuff we love the most, as an important job in our lives is something one should value, as not every friend group is fortune enough to do this.
Besides being like-minded, all three of us have a unique perspective of subjects which enables us to put together something unique. This different similarity is our USP.
Q: Where do you see JT in the next 3 years from now?
JT: If not behind bars, for offending the sentiments of people at one point or another, we are working towards establishing comedy as a celebrated genre alongside counterparts such as music or drawings
We have seen tremendous growth in the population of entrepreneurs, but most of them are cafe owners, and a handful of them are working on some other conventional projects.
We’re entrepreneurs, who want to bring joy and laughter to the people by the most clichéd way; cracking jokes.
We’re doing pretty good so far; every time we tell people we’re a comedy group and our business is to crack jokes, they burst into Laughter. That’s a good sign, haha!
Q: You recently posted about ‘Laughter Riots’. Tell us something more about it.
JT: Laughter Riots is JT’s first venture, which shall mark the beginning of the movement; where people for once, will take comedy seriously.
This is mainly a standup comedy event, but since we have talented people doing everything else, other than comedy, we’ll be giving a chance to them as well, till the time aspiring comedians are ready to take on a live audience.
PS: You never know what funny can do.
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