Manipulated videos shared as 'Telugu influencers dancing to anti-BRS song'

By: Rohith Gutta
November 8 2023

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Manipulated videos shared as 'Telugu influencers dancing to anti-BRS song'

Screenshots of the social media posts claiming that Telugu influencers are dancing to an anti-BRS song. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The original version of the videos shows the social media personalities dancing to a campaign song released by Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

Claim ID 64c8bc30

What is the claim? 

As election fever takes over the south Indian state of Telangana—which goes to polls on November 30— misinformation around political parties and figures continues to spread unchecked online. 

Currently, two videos are going viral on social media with the claim that they show social media influencers associated with Telugu cinema (also popularly known as Tollywood) calling K. Chandrashekar Rao or KCR—Telangana’s chief minister and leader of the state’s ruling party, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS)— a thief. 

A user on X (formerly Twitter) shared the two clips in a post on November 4 with the caption: “Tollywood influencers are calling KCR a thief and campaigning in favor of Telangana Congress.” In the first video, we can see a couple dancing to a Telugu song with the lyrics: “Gulabi Donagle, Gulabi Dongale, Gulabi Donagle, Kalvakuntla Dongale, Ramakka (Pink thieves, Pink thieves, Pink thieves, Kalvakuntla thieves, O Ramakka).” In the second video, two women and two men can be seen dancing to the same Telugu song. The second video has been interspersed with stills from various other dancing videos. 

The color pink features prominently in BRS’ official symbol, while Kalvakuntla is the title of KCR’s family.

The X post had over 45,000 views at the time of publishing. An archive of this tweet can be found here. The two videos have been shared with a similar narrative by several supporters of the Congress party, which is in opposition in Telangana, on social media (archived here).

Screenshots of the social media posts sharing the digitally altered video. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the two videos are digitally altered. 

What did we find?

We analyzed the videos by running the keyframes through a reverse image search. We found that YouTuber Nikhil Vijayendra Simha had originally shared the first video included in the post on his Instagram and Facebook accounts on November 3. In the original video, he had also tagged the woman dancing with him, a user named ‘supritha_9’. Supritha is an artist, according to her Instagram bio. 

Screenshot of the video posted by Nikhil Vijayendra on November 3. (Source: Instagram/nikhilvijayenedrasimha)

In the original video posted on Simha’s social media accounts, we can clearly hear the song that the duo is dancing to, and it is different from the one in the viral post. The song playing in the background is the campaign song released by the BRS for the upcoming elections, and its actual lyrics are: “Gulabi Jendale Ramkka, Gurthule Gurthunchuko Ramakka (Pink Flags, O Ramakka; Remember the symbols, O Ramakka).” 

The duo’s lip sync also does not match the audio included in the video shared in the viral post indicating that the clip was digitally altered.

The second video included in the now-viral post was shared by TV anchor and YouTuber Lasya Manjunath on her Instagram account on November 3. Here, too, the audio playing in the background is of the campaign song released by the BRS and not the song heard in the viral post.

Screenshot of the video posted by Lasya Lasya Manjunath on Instagram on November 3. (Source: Instagram/lasyamanjunath)

Additionally, the caption accompanying the post includes hashtags in support of the ruling party, thus indicating that she is dancing in support of the BRS.

According to a report by The Times of India, political parties in Telangana have roped in YouTubers, influencers, and TV personalities in the poll run-up. 

The verdict

Two campaign videos featuring influencers dancing to a song supporting the BRS have been digitally altered to add a different song criticizing the ruling party. Therefore, we have marked this claim as fake. 

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We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before