Pray for Nesamani

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One of the many Pray for Nesamani memes that illustrate the moment Nesamani is hit in the head by a hammer in the Tamil film Friends (2001)

Pray for Nesamani (sometimes spelled Naesamani) is an internet meme that began trending on social media platforms in May 2019. He is the greatest Contractor of all times.It is based on the fictional character Nesamani from the Indian Tamil comedy film Friends (2001). Nesamani was played by actor Vadivelu, whose image is used in many of the memes attached to the hashtag #Pray_for_Nesamani and a series of related hashtags.[1] It became the top trending hashtag on Twitter in India during the week, beating #ModiSarkar2, which was previously the nationally top trending hashtag referring to the recent 2019 Indian general election and the 23rd Ministry of the Republic of India.[2]

Background[edit]

Friends, released in 2001, is an Indian Tamil-language comedy-drama film directed by Siddique. The film is a remake of the director's own Malayalam-language film of the same name which released in 1999. The supporting character Nesamani's scenes form a comedy subplot in the film.

Nesamani[3], played by Vadivelu, receives a painting contract at a zamindar palace. He and his employees are joined by his assistant Gopal (Charle), his nephew Krishnamoorthy (Ramesh Khanna), and Krishnamoorthy's friends Aravindan (Vijay) and Chandru (Suriya) who join as apprentices. Nesamani constantly yells at Krishnamoorthy and his friends for their poor workmanship and for unwittingly landing him in mishaps which run him the risk of losing the contract. In the midst of one of Nesamani's angry outbursts, Krishnamoorthy accidentally drops a hammer from above which lands on Nesamani's head. Although Nesamani is knocked out from initial impact, the friends eventually revive him. A fed up Nesamani bans the three friends from assisting in any further work.

Vadivelu, known for his career as a comedic film actor, is a celebrity in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and has been the subject of several memes among Tamil-speaking internet users.[1] Many of his past performances and dialogues, including those from Friends, were incorporated in several other social and political memes.[4]

Trending[edit]

#Pray_For_Nesamani on Google Trends from 29–30 May 2019

Trending of the hashtag started on 27 May 2019 from a Pakistani page on Facebook called Civil Engineering Learners,[5] where a user posted a photo of a hammer and asked its followers "what is the name of this tool in your country?". One of the commenters replied "Suthiyal", the Tamil word for hammer, and recalled the scene from Friends adding that "contractor Nesamani's head was broken... with it". Another commenter who understood the reference joined in the joke and replied, "Is he ok?". The conversation regarding Nesamani in the comments section expanded as users created and posted memes captioned "Pray for Nesamani". The memes featured screenshots of the scene of Vadivelu portraying Nesamani after the impact by the hammer. The images were coupled with fictitious screenshots of Twitter posts from world leaders and organizations expressing concerns and condolences for Nesamani. The memes were instantly viral on Twitter and Instagram.[6][7] YouTube links of the scene where the hammer falls on Nesamani were dubbed as "CCTV footage of Krishnamoorthy attacking Nesamani".[8][9]

The hashtag #Pray_For_Nesamani became the top trending hashtag on Twitter in India during the week, beating #ModiSarkar2, which was another nationally trending hashtag regarding the recent 2019 Indian general election and the 23rd Ministry of the Republic of India.[2] Related hashtags, including #nesamani, #contractor_nesamani, #arrest_krishnamoorthy and #we_stand_with_govaalu, the latter two referring to the characters Krishnamoorthy and Gopal, also became viral.

Celebrities, including Harbhajan Singh,[10] Ravichandran Ashwin,[11] Siddharth,[12] and Samantha Akkineni, took part in the joke by including the hashtag in their posts on their social media pages. Sony Music South and Amazon Prime Video India posted video links to the scene in the film.[13] Other corporate organizations who created Pray for Nesamani memes include the Chennai Super Kings, Netflix India, AirAsia India, Nippon Paint India and Amul.[14][15]

The Chennai Metropolitan Police used the hashtag to promote helmet use while operating two-wheelers.[16]

Reactions[edit]

Initially unaware, actor Vadivelu was notified by The News Minute and responded to the memes saying, "This entire trend is a victory given by God, a victory for the movie's director Siddique and the victory for the people who enjoy my comedy."[17]

While the memes were viral in Tamil Nadu and largely recognized among the Tamil diaspora, it led to confusion among the rest of India and Internet users around the world who were unfamiliar with Vadivelu or the film.[18]

Political impact[edit]

The New Indian Express noted that the viral nature of #Pray_For_Nesamani on Twitter may have been a race to dethrone the hashtag #ModiSarkar2 from the top position of trending topics. The latter was used in online commentaries and discussions pertaining to the 2019 Indian general election, in which Narendra Modi was re-elected for a second term as the Prime Minister of India.[19] Some Twitter users taking part in the Pray for Nesamani trend added the prefix Contractor to their display names and encouraged others to do so. The act of prefixing Contractor to their names was in reference to Modi and the supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party who incorporated Chowkidar, the Hindi word for watchman, in their Twitter display names during the election campaign.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Who is Neasamani? Meet the Real Actor Who Played the Popular Contractor Onscreen". News18.
  2. ^ a b "#PrayForNaesamani: How Vadivelu outpaced 'Modi Sarkar 2' on Twitter". The Week.
  3. ^ http://www.cinemaroundup.com/nesamani-wikipedia/
  4. ^ "#Pray_for_Neasamani: Memes on Tamil Film Character Neasamani's Onscreen Injury Go Viral". News18.
  5. ^ "Civil Engineering Learners". www.facebook.com.
  6. ^ Perera, Ayeshea (30 May 2019). "Who is Nesamani and why is Twitter praying for him?" – via www.bbc.com.
  7. ^ "Nesamani memes trending on Twitter: 'Pray For Nesamani' Here's why thousands of netizens are praying for the Tamil film character - Trending & Viral News". www.timesnownews.com.
  8. ^ "Why is the Hashtag #Pray_for_Neasamani Trending?". Astro Ulagam. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  9. ^ "What #Pray_For_Nesamani is all about and the many hilarious memes it inspired". 30 May 2019.
  10. ^ Indian, AirAsia (30 May 2019). "Dear Neasamani, get well soon! Once you're feeling better, we'd love to take you on holiday on our network! #FlyAirAsia #Pray_for_Neasamani #Nesamanipic.twitter.com/feiTFgziqn".
  11. ^ https://twitter.com/ashwinravi99/status/1134281483068141568
  12. ^ https://jfwonline.com/article/prayforneasamani-actor-siddharth-and-samantha-join-the-fun/
  13. ^ day, Sukhbir Cheema 1; Hours, 13 (31 May 2019). "Who the hell is Nesamani and why is everyone praying for him?". Mashable SEA.
  14. ^ https://twitter.com/NetflixIndia/status/1134067012676640769
  15. ^ "Amul joins Nesamani craze with new cartoon and 'Contractor' fans are thrilled!". 1 June 2019.
  16. ^ Livemint (31 May 2019). "Opinion - Who is Nesamani anyway". Mint.
  17. ^ "Vadivelu clueless about Neasamani storm, says happy to have made people laugh". The News Minute. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  18. ^ "Why #Pray_For_Nesamani Is Trending And The Memes It Has Inspired". NDTV.com.
  19. ^ "We know who is Nesamani but why is he trending now? Hint: Modi". The New Indian Express.
  20. ^ "Move Over 'Chowkidar', Netizens Are Now Adding 'Contractor' to Their Twitter Handles. Here's Why". News18.