The Naked Tyrants aka Akber Ali Khan, Abdul Nusrat and Haroon Monnoo are definitely a talented group. Their videos, which include a spoof of the popular Sunday magazine and a “CSI” episode featuring the ‘abduction of Atif Aslam’ have garnered them plenty of fans online.
The Naked Tyrants’ youngest member, Monnoo, is 18 and is currently studying at McGill University. Monnoo is a valuable actor whose improvisational skills and comic ideas have helped make the group’s videos what they are.
Nusrat is studying Economics in London and is a talented photographer who provides the group directorial input and films most of the scenes. The group’s front man is Khan, who has recently graduated from Beaconhouse National University. Khan normally plays the protagonist in the group’s videos and forms the core of their creative process.
How did Naked Tyrant Productions come about?
It was one fateful summer evening when a friend, Shibli Mansuri and I, were lounging around fiddling with a music editing software. We ended up creating a song called “Lahori Gangsta” which would later become Naked Tyrants’ first music video.
A few days later, Haroon, Abdul and I were sitting around when I decided to play “Lahori Gangsta”. It was almost an instantaneous reaction from the three of us and we all thought … music video? It was a complete coincidence that Abdul had recently invested in a small video camera and we filmed the video and edited it all in one afternoon. Shortly after that we released it on Facebook. The video received so much attention and praise that we realised how severe the comedic void in our culture had become, it was then that we decided to form Naked Tyrant Productions!
How do you come up with ideas of what to spoof?
Living in a country as diverse as ours, there is no shortage of inspiration. Be it the Lahori crowd racing beefed up cars outside Hot Spot or the permanent pouts you see in socialite magazines. With every single TV channel dedicated to discussing issues that never get resolved, every comedy show recycling the same old impersonations and severe media sensationalism there is a great void … and it can only be filled by laughter.
Are you currently working on any new videos?
Even though Monnoo is out of the country, we did manage to finish filming our last installment of “CSI” for this summer and our viewers should expect to see it this week. Other than that, we’ve got a few ideas. One of them is a mockumentary about the everyday struggles of Pakistanis.
Do you have any plans to pitch these projects to a local television channel?
We don’t as yet. Since our brand of comedy is fairly new to Pakistan, having the media step in to promote us through their half-baked unimaginative and rather dull channels would probably result in a loss of creative control and kill our appeal. Creating good quality videos that appeal to our devoted fan base is more important to us than receiving mass viewership, if it comes at the cost of compromised quality.
How have you promoted the films so far?
Till now we have relied solely on free platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. A lot of our viewership comes through word of mouth.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2010.
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