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This Modi Mimicry Act Snowballed Into a Mallika-Akshay Controversy

A leaked video clip of Shyam Rangeela imitating PM Narendra Modi has taken a different turn altogether.

Updated
Entertainment
2 min read
Shyam Rangeela and Akshay Kumar on <i>The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.</i>
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Over the weekend, a video clip of Shyam Rangeela performing on the Star Plus show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge went viral on social media. Rangeela’s act on the show had him mimicking Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a few added lines of Rahul Gandhi thrown in. The video was widely shared not just on Facebook and YouTube but through WhatsApp also.

Shyam Rangeela’s act wasn’t aired on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge because there reportedly were strict orders from “above” that no participant should mimic Narendra Modi. According to a source who had access to the recording:

“He did a brilliant mimicry of Modi and was selected with the Golden Bell, as you saw. But literally two days before his next performance, he was told that there is some issue - upar se order hai - and he is not allowed to imitate Narendra Modi, which is funny because this person Shyam Rangeela is very well-known already for imitating him.”

Now, the story didn’t end there. If this particular act had aired on the show as it normally would have, it might have passed without controversy, but here’s what happened. Veteran journalist Vinod Dua happened to watch the leaked video on social media and was enraged by the show’s host, Akshay Kumar’s passing comment aimed at one of the co-mentors and his daughter - Mallika Dua.

“Mallikaji aap bell bajao main aapko bajata hoon...” is what Akshay says as he takes Mallika’s hand while she rings the Golden Bell at the end of the clip. Vinod Dua expressed his anger at the comment via Facebook by calling Akshay a “cretin” for his behaviour.

Vinod Dua’s Facebook post which was later deleted.
Vinod Dua’s Facebook post which was later deleted.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Mallika shared her father’s post by adding: “Hey! Quick question. Does anyone find 5:26 funny? Charming? Entertaining? Family entertainment. GEC”

Predictably Akshay Kumar fans and trolls online began abusing and dissing Mallika’s tweets, and she had to delete a couple of her posts because she couldn’t handle the level of hate and misogyny some of the comments came with.

Akshay Kumar is yet to react to this controversy which has him being casually sexist with a colleague on national television. No doubt, this episode of The Great Laughter Challenge is emerging to be a great challenge of sorts for both the channel and the actor concerned.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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