taher shah


Be it Dhinchak Pooja’s 35 million or Taher Shah’s 47 million hits on YouTube, we have fallen prey to the world of cringe. DU Beat analyses and lists down five reasons why cringe-worthy content has become our bread and butter.


The Merriam Webster dictionary defines cringeworthy as “so embarrassing, awkward, or upsetting so as to cause one to cringe.” Unfortunately, the past three years have seen an unbelievably high rise in the number of cringe-worthy videos that have gone viral for all the wrong reasons, be it the utter lack of tune in music or lyrics that are highly offensive on a million levels. Pop music now has a new genre named ‘Cringe Pop’ which includes music and videos that are so revolting, you cannot stop watching them.

In May 2017, a 25-year-old girl from Chandigarh, Pooja Jain became a viral sensation under the alias of Dhinchak Pooja when her song, ‘Selfie Maine Leli Aaj’ hit 35 million views on YouTube and trended in the top 20 list.

Digging ourselves much deeper into the cringe-trap, we listened to every tone-deaf, off-note song produced by her. Because of the way her music was trolled on Twitter and Facebook, her popularity grew as she earned over Rs. 7 lakhs on one song. She now has over 4,00,000 subscribers on YouTube and 40,000 followers on Instagram.

In 2003, Taher Shah, a 37-year-old Pakistani singer and music producer, became a pop culture sensation when his song Eye to Eye, with lyrics like “without your eye, I’m a butterfly”, went viral and hit over 900,000 views on YouTube. Two years later, he took over the world, dressed in a purple overall velvet gown, a crown, and wings, in his song ‘Angel’ that reached over two million views on YouTube.

His excessive narcissism, repulsive music, and meaningless lyrics packaged him up as a complete cringe deal that now a search of Eye to Eye springs up over 47 million results on YouTube.

The latest to join the rulers of the cringe world is Omprakash Mishra, whose song Aunty ki Ghanti took over the world by a storm in 2017 with over 6.5 million YouTube views. The extremely sexist and misogynistic song has had thousands gather at Connaught Place, Delhi and Marine Drive, Mumbai to ‘celebrate’ the self-proclaimed ‘Rap God’s’ hit. The song attracted intense media scrutiny and a journalist at The Quint, who demanded its removal from YouTube, faced death threats by defenders of the anthem, that somehow created a sense of relatability for millions of Indian men out there.

Cringe-worthy content is taking over the world today, be it through memes, newspapers, media channels or our daily conversations. However, not everyone views it as and shares such content just for the ‘heck’ of it.

We bring to you a list of five reasons why the world today welcomes such cringeworthy pop sensations and presents them this throne of fame:


If the content features a simple, repetitive, and catchy tune like Taher Shah’s ‘Eye to Eye’ or Dhinchak Pooja’s ‘Selfie Maine le li aaj’, then it makes it easier for the sing to dig itself into the listener’s brain and urge him to share/ ridicule it in public.


In today’s world of extreme social media addiction, people are willing to do anything to earn that extra social currency, whatever makes them feel cool in front of others. Sharing such cringe worthy content and joking about it makes them feel more socially secure and acceptable.


The cringeworthy content, simplistic in its own right, does have such emotional value attached to it, in terms of relatability towards the person or the setup. The mediocrity of content and the lack of the popular Bollywood setup in these videos connects with people through emotion, nostalgia, and humour, which forces them to share it with others.


If such cringe worthy content already has some social points attached to it, in the sense that, there have already been multiple shares online, then it makes it easier for people to participate and share it further. This helps them feel more validated as they feel that their opinion resonates with the public’s opinion.


A lot of research also shows that people derive sadistic pleasures from seeing the humiliation of others and a person who enjoys watching such videos, most likely suffers from low self-esteem and enjoys the discomfort and humiliation of others. There is also a high probability that this person is a bully or has bully tendencies.

Be it Dhinchak Pooja, Taher Shah, Vennu Mallesh or Omprakash Mishra, the world is obsessing over cringeworthy content and hawking at it like its fresh prey to all their memes, jokes and conversations. This has, unfortunately, deteriorated our standards for content consumption by multiple levels and has brought us to a point where we almost enjoy the cringe.


Feature Image Credits: Pinterest


Muskan Sethi

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