For all who would like to know, “Who did this?” while sharing the mix from Karan Johar’s 2001 movie Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and British royalty, the answer is: Mesmeraki. The illustration, which has been widely shared on social media, is a desi take on the ‘Megxit’ break in the royal family. The dynastic disputes of the Windsors possibly pale in comparison with the Khandani Drama once seen amongst the Raichands of Delhi, something Mesmeraki picked up on early on, almost like an inside joke.
“What prompted me to do this illustration and its purpose was to take this great western issue that is affecting many western media and turn it into something that we have all seen in our Asian homes. It makes it more understandable and easy to identify, ”says 23-year-old artist and illustrator Sanjeet Singh Bhachu, who goes by the nickname Mesmeraki.
Bhachu first made the illustration in January 2020, when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced that they were leaving the royal family, an event known as ‘Megxit’. The artist slapped the faces of the royals on Karan Johar’s movie poster. Diaspora aunts in the UK couldn’t help but laugh at that. When Bhachu was spammed with forwards of the WhatsApp illustration, he had to reply, “Yes, Auntie, I did that.” Now, in the wake of the eye-opening interview with Oprah, the illustration is making the rounds again. “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham It’s one of those things that almost all Indians know and have probably memorized word for word, because I know they do, ”says Bhachu.
The Queen was transformed into Nandini and Prince William is Rohan, but the parallels go beyond these overlapping positions. Bhachu has taken the royal family and made it familiarly Asian. Indians cannot be too surprised by the plots of couples who marry for love and are estranged from families, and all too often the reasons come down to class, caste and class. Khandan, much like ‘The Institution’ Meghan refers to.
Bhachu was born in the United Kingdom to an Indian mother and a Kenyan father. As part of the British Asian community, the artist has ties to various countries, but has always felt that his heart was in India. “That’s where my Sikhi look or my love for Bollywood comes from.”
The artistic avatar of Bhachu, Mesmeraki, combines “fascinating” and the Greek “meraki”, to put the soul in what one does. Through Mesmeraki, Bhachu says she wants to speak to a wider audience and actively researches other communities and religions. Since the illustration of ‘Megxit’, Bhachu has moved closer to artistic activism. His latest series focuses on farmer protests in India. The farmers holding the fort against the police, the figure of Baba Deep Singh and the langars appear here. “It really touches me deeply. (The farmers’ crisis) affects us equally, whether we are in India or the UK or elsewhere. And it’s not just a Punjabi thing. It is for all farmers in India, ”says Bhachu. The artist has a special interest in paying special attention to the figure of the farmer, one of the most underrepresented communities within the agricultural sector.
For now, as social media users make Mesmeraki’s illustration go viral, it’s worth noting that despite its imperial past, the Crown’s intriguing stories are no different from those of its former empire. . All it took was one crafty move in a mash-up.