A dance challenge against social media onslaught

Who would have thought that the effervescent and peppy number Rasputin by acclaimed Europe-based pop band Boney M would hold centre stage oceans apart here in the tiny State of Kerala, 41 years after it first had music lovers hooked.

The less-than-a-minute-long dance by two students of the Thrissur Medical College — Janaki Omkumar and Naveen Razak — performed for fun to the tune of the global hit number from the 1978-album “Nightflight to Venus” has done just that. The jig that had since gone viral on social media has brought the youngsters both bouquets and brickbats inadvertently fanning communal and political passions.

The controversy over the performance hogged media limelight after a lawyer made a Facebook post drawing attention to the religious background of the girl and the boy who hail from two different communities. This has sparked an impassioned debate on social media for and against the youngsters who have fended off the alleged communal barbs hurled at them.

Now, in a show of solidarity with the youngsters, the Students Federation of India (SFI) unit of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) has come up with an online dance challenge. In an obvious dig at the lawyer who had allegedly made the post, the event has been titled “Entho Panthikedundu” (something is fishy).

“The event is to express our solidarity with the youngsters and fight the communal and fascist forces that are attacking them,” said Abhinav Krishna, SFI unit committee member. The organisers have invited dance entries less than a minute long, both solo and duo, performed to the same Rasputin number.

Entries will be accepted till April 14, and the winners will be announced two days later. “We have already started getting entries and will upload them on the Instagram handle of the SFI Cusat unit. We are trying to reach out to both the youngsters and get them to announce the winners,” said Mr. Krishna.

The most liked performance on social media will be awarded so as the best performers to be adjudged by a jury. Initially, a single cash award of ₹1,500 was announced though the possibility of enhancing the cash prize is being explored now that sponsors have come forward appreciating the spirit of the event (@sficusat).

Not to be left behind, the medical students network of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also announced ‘The Rasputin Challenge’, an Instagram-based short dance video competition in solidarity with the young medical students. Entries have already been invited, and the most-liked video from among those uploaded to the Instagram handle will be awarded with cash award (ima_msn_kerala).

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 1:15:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/a-dance-challenge-against-social-media-onslaught/article34284249.ece

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