Who let the cat out?

Adnan Akib finds out the curious story of Armanul Haque, the creator of ‘Bangali Talking Tom’

icn1Cat videos seem to go viral every other day nowadays on social media. Such outpouring of love is quite understandable as cats, after all, are quite adorable. But what if cats could impersonate stereotypical characters in funny voices as well? That would be quite athing right?
Armanul Haque, a vocal artiste who is loaded with sense of humor as well, stumbled upon that brilliant idea and actually gave it a shot.The result? He became a hit among Bangladeshis almost overnight.
Arman’ sunique creation ‘Bangali Talking Tom’, which is the animated character of a cat that can speak in Bangla and make people laugh is widely popular among regular Bangladeshi users of social media.
‘Bangali Talking Tom’, which is also the name of his YouTube channel has more than 48,000 subscribers.Since its launchin April 2012, the channel has been providing pure entertainment to its viewers.
What is perhaps as interesting as Talking Tom, if not more, is the background story of how Arman came up with the concept of the character. Talking Tom was created out of sheer loneliness and boredom. Most people when bored and lonely just continue to sulk further, but not Arman.
‘When I was in Malaysia for my studies, I had no one to talk to. Even overseas phone conversations with my parents would not last that long. Phone conversations with girls would also disappoint, as their responses would hardly be witty or funny. Back then I had found the mobile application of Talking Tom. Firstly, I started talking to this mobile application and Tom, the cat of the app used to repeat the same words in a funny voice. Then it hit me.What if Tom answers my questions and establishes a conversation rather than just repeating the same thing? As I was studying sound engineering there, it was not very difficult for me to make the voice of talking Tom. So, I started scripting and making videos. The implementation of the idea and the response from it was heartwarming,’ Arman elaborates.
In the videos, Talking Tom is seen doing voices of both male and female characters. Arman brings out comedy from everyday situations and anecdotes that happen in the life of almost everyone, which keeps the content highly relatable for the audience.Conversations between two friends, husband and wife, boyfriend and girl friend are some of the prime examples of the creative content of Talking Tom. However, Arman also likes throwing a message thorough all the laughter and jokes.
‘An argument doesn’t necessarily has to be very loud, like when people scream. Arguments could be done with a soft voice,’ he adds, while stressing how just doing something differently than how it is traditionally done could ensue comedy.
The first Bangali Talking Tom video was released on April 14, 2012. At the beginning, the frequency of releasing videos was higher than what it is now. ‘At that time I was living abroad and I was free. Nobody interrupted my works and I could do whatever I wanted to. I made many videos with small topics that everyone can relate to. I trolled them in a very sweet way. Nobody got offended but took the message behind the video clearly.’ Arman says.
About the decline in new releases, Arman says, ‘I make the videos for everyone. I don’t have any targeted audience. Every person of every age group is the audience of Talking Tom.I promote fun and entertain people through Talking Tom. But it really demotivates me when people get the wrong message and create controversy.The political and social condition is worsening and some peopleinterpret the videos the wrong way. That’s why one has to be careful and I am taking more time to write the scripts. However, Talking Tom will be regular from November and this time it will come as series.’
Arman is also concerned about the impact of social media content on children. He says, ‘Internet is an open source of information and many kidsare exposed tothe contents of social media. They could be quite impressionable.People who set the trend through social media should be aware of that. They should ensure that they are producing quality content.A few days back I saw a fifth grader was tagged in a post that had veryinappropriateand abusive language.’
Arman is currently working on another projectthat would be known as ‘Bitla Boltu’. ‘This (Bitla Boltu) would be another character like Talking Tom who will talk about different social and political issues. This character will talk about the serious issues in a funny way and alsooffer opinion and solutions of these issues in a manner which will be funny to viewers,’ Arman conveys.
Arman started his student life in Willes Little Flower School, after which he went to London School of Commerce. Music is another passion of this multitalented entertainer. He completed a diploma in music from Segi College, Kuala Lumpur.
In addition to his videos, Arman also works to create content for television commercials. He is also the head of the programme of Radio Dhoni.

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