Last weekend, I (once again) braved the noisy, badly behaved theatregoers of Mumbai to see Wall-E. Seated beside a group of chatty 20-somethings and in front of a toddler who loudly announced 5 minutes into the film: “Mama what movie is this?” and repeatedly accosted by the usher who now also doubles up as an order taker/waiter at your neighbourhood Adlabs multiplex, I was glad there were nearly no dialogues in the first half of the film.
Robot in love: Not ‘fataafat’ enough.
But a post apocalyptic world inhabited by an outdated, ramshackle Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class (Wall-E, get it?) with feelings and his cockroach friend (all in Pixar animation) was too much of a concept for the college kids sitting on my left to grasp.
So there I was, noting the surreal similarities between BnL, the Buy n Large conglomerate that had filled the earth with megastores in the film, and our home-grown Reliance (ADA and MDA combined — anything is possible in an apocalypse) when India’s future, seated next to me, loudly announced: “The first 10 minutes were cool but I can’t take any more of this. I’m bored and crashing.”
Even after the film was over I couldn’t get that comment out of my head. How could the young man have been bored by the stunning film? Aren’t you supposed to be into science, wonder, Isaac Asimov (or his modern-day equivalent) at that age?
I asked Vineet Singh Hukmani to help me figure this one out.
Hukmani is the CEO of Radio One, which calls itself a station for the fataafat generation. “Our sweet spot listener is a 24-year-old, single and ready to mingle, earning good money and someone who enjoys his/her independence. This is a metro phenomenon; this confidence makes these young people do things fataafat. It is this fataafat generation that is driving metro consumption now,” Hukmani said in an interview to Radio Duniya earlier this year.
More people have started using this phrase/word since the Midday Multimedia and BBC Worldwide-run station coined the phrase slightly over a year ago.
Even as doomsayers were predicting that IPL (Indian Premier League) would be a huge flop, media-savvy types such as journalist-turned-politician Rajiv Shukla knew that it was bound to be a hit. “This is one-and-half hour of quick cricket with entertainment, where people will go for fun. The IPL is fataafat cricket,” he told Rediff in an interview in March.
Hukmani told me that today’s young and independent 24-year-old weaves in and out of the decisions that he faces really fast. “He wants fataafat fame, fataafat money and fataafat love.”
The word fataafat, Hukmani said, doesn’t just imply speed. It also indicates convenience.
According to him, young people (and they could be Radio One’s fataafat listeners, Pepsi’s Youngistan or Fastrack’s Move On generation) pass judgements on mediums really fast. “Ten seconds into the film Rock On!!, they already have an opinion on the film,” he says.
That’s when I told him about the kid who was bored by Wall-E.
Whether all these young people with money and confidence are bored because they have so many choices or whether they are seeking choices because they are bored is anyone’s guess.
Either way, as Hukmani puts it: “Their forgiveness span is less.”
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