On the internet, the oddest things can become memes. A most recent example is a meme that has become a rage on Twitter in India, inspired by a hit Udit Narayan song from the 1990s. The song in question is Ghar Se Nikalte Hi from Mahesh Bhatt’s 1996 movie Papa Kehte Hain. Written by Javed Akhtar, the song is lip-synched by the hero (Jugal Hansraj) in the film as he serenades the heroine (Mayuri Kango) in his imagination. The song was recreated as a single by composer Amaal Mallik and singer Armaan Malik in April.
No reason in particular can be traced to the popularity of the song as a meme. The meme is structured as a before-after picture. The lines “Ghar se nikalte hi” (Just after stepping out of home) is used over the picture depicting the initial state of being, while the lines that immediately follow in the song, “Kuch dur chalte hi” (Upon going a little farther) are used over the photo showing the final condition.
The meme’s template has been widely used in a variety of contexts by Indian Twitter users over the past one week. While some tweets have been merely funny, others have been political.
Some tweets feature a picture of a made-up Bollywood actor on the one hand, followed by a grimier look of the same personality on the other side. An example is a meme using a picture of Vidya Balan from an event juxtaposed against a screenshot of the actress from the film Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) where she plays a woman possessed by an evil spirit.
Like the tweet above that references a famous pop-culture phenomenon – that of Salman Khan’s 2002 hit-and-run case – several tweets make nods to popular ideas surrounding Indian cities, for example, Delhi being an unsafe city for women, Bengaluru’s traffic woes, and Mumbai’s civic problems.
The Mumbai Police’s Twitter account joined the fun as well.
More than anything else, the meme template has been used to create an inordinate number of cricket-centred memes, perhaps because of the ongoing Indian Premier League.
Of course, there were memes that took on Narendra Modi, and the Karnataka elections that had been in the news throughout the week.
Here are a few more.