It has been almost a month since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the government’s plan to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which sucked out 86% of the currency in circulation in India overnight. The chaos that followed was meant to last a few days. But nearly a month later, the situation has not improved. Many banks and Automated Teller Machines are not being supplied with cash regularly, and the few that are exhaust their stocks within a few hours of opening.
The latest video by All India Bakchod comedy troupe addresses events that have happened since Modi’s surprise announcement, the fallout of which, as the title suggests, is not dissimilar to the goings on at a circus.
For instance, the government has announced arbitrary changes to the policy almost every day since it was announced, including restrictions on withdrawing cash from accounts. But at the same time, no one is willing to admit that they are inconvenienced because of the dominant narrative that demonetisation being done for the greater good of the country because it is targeted at tackling black money.
“Fake currency? Khatam.
Global warming? Khatam.
Syrian refugee crisis? Khatam.
Kaise? Technology.”— 'The Demonetization Circus'.
The comedy troupe’s video is relentless satire on the post-demonetisation state of affairs.
In the video, the domestic help of the politician archetype (Tanmay Bhat) receives an advance of five months’ salary, but entirely in old notes. No shopkeeper is willing to accept the currency despite several attempts by the man to use it to buy supplies. He eventually collapses while waiting in a bank queue. For a moment, as the citizens waiting in line along with him converge around him out of concern, it seems as if they have had an epiphany. But that lasts only till the bank manager announces that a brand new bundle of Rs 500 notes have arrived. The citizens scramble past each other to be issued the cash, even jumping over the fallen man to reach the bank counter.
On the radio, through the duration of the video, a familiar voice that had been asking for time – a few days, then weeks – for the situation to get back to normal, says: “Mitron, samay kya hai? Mann ka vehem hai. [Friends, time is an illusion].”