Gone are the days when we were glued to our phones and tablets watching serious news updates. Open any social media app and there pops a meme. Combining current affairs and comedy, memes are the order of the day.
With the amount of creative content that floods our Facebook pages, one can clearly make out that Chennai has no paucity of meme creators. However, two groups from the city have particularly made an impact boasting over 1 million followers for their pages on various platforms. Comprising 16 young meme creators the two prominent groups namely, Chennai Memes and Chennai Pasanga Da (CPD) have carved a niche for themselves in the world of memes and are here to stay.
While it may seem fun for readers, for the teams it’s serious business. From Jallikattu and Neduvaasal, to Tamilisai and Mersal they worked their way up, highlighting and trolling every subject and leaving no stone unturned. Today. we catch up with both teams as we speak to them about the process, limitations and backlashes. While Chennai Memes team remained comfortable revealing its identity, CPD requested anonymity and preferred using pseudonyms.
Chennai Pasanga Da (CPD)
What led to meme creation
The story is very filmy! Our entry into the meme world was through exposing one of renowned colleges. CPD was the first page to show the truth of educational institutions that didn’t stand up to their promises. Once the memes were posted on the page, hell broke out. This inspired me a lot. After completing my studies, I started my career as a Meme Creator, just to bring about memes on social issues. — Scofield, Founder CPD
Foraying into societal issues
We try and dig deep into issues that affect the public. People look up to those who speak on their behalf and we strive to do that. During Jallikattu protest, our page got 10 million hits for the memes that we shared! This is when we realised the magnitude of our work. Post that, we highlighted issues relating to transgressions taking place in the educational institutions, flood, Cauvery dispute, NEET, Mersal censorship and the list goes on. — Leo, CPD team member
Politicians and memes
Our content is churned out with the help of every interview, news and public speeches. For example, Sasikala after the demise of former CM Jayalalithaa, Sellur Raja for his announcement to conserve the reservoir water using thermocol and the recent Mersal controversy, that drew attention towards few politicians like H Raja and Tamilisai Soundararajan, for their views and ideologies. We make sure we do not troll any person based on their appearance. — Ranga, CPD team member
Like movies, censorship also affects meme business
This is a serious issue faced by every other media-based field. Not just us, but all the meme creators across the world are held back many a time when we try to create memes on any disturbing issue affecting the society. Recently, a family committed suicide by setting themselves on fire. The news went viral, but when we uploaded memes based on the images, the photo got censored by Facebook for being explicit in nature. — Mark Antony, CPD team member
Journey into meme creation
Chennai Memes is purely the result of curiosity! I started the page on January 2014 during my final year in college. During that period, this culture of meme-making was trending world-wide and as I was good with software and social media platforms, wanted to give it a try. It was not a cake walk. The challenge was to capture the pulse of the audience and deliver humour and social message at the same time. — G Gautham, Founder
When we were trolled back!
The biggest threat which we have ever received till date was from the fans of actors Ajith and Vijay, which ended up creating memes on their movies. Though we don’t upload such content anymore, many individual meme creators and fans still roast us and fill our inbox with hate messages! —Karthik, Meme creator
Censorship never an issue
never an issue The only threat that we’ve faced is from the movie production house or the rights owner of the movie. They report the content using their ownership, which essentially leads to warnings from Facebook or even our page getting blocked for a period of 7 days to 30 days. —Barath, Creative Head
Popular faces to troll
When it comes to popular names that are trolled, Captain is seen as the pioneer. The versatility of his profession helps meme creators use it as a fuel to churn out hysterical content. Few other names that caught our attention was H Raja and Tamilisai Soundararajan. — Venkat, Video team head
We don’t demean actors
Chennai Memes generally doesn’t troll cine stars. We never target any particular actor unless he is linked to controversies. Mostly, the famous dialogues delivered by the actors are used rather along with actor themselves. — Surya Vimal, Content specialist