Donald Babu: In Trump’s NFT tale, echoes of a Govinda classic

It may not seem like it at first glance, but there is something in common between Donald Trump and Raja Babu, the lead character played by Govinda in the 1994 film directed by David Dhawan. Raja, like Donald, was the descendant of a rich man. He too was considered a less-than-sophisticated chap by many — his appeal lay in a cultivated in-your-face rusticity. Earlier this week, the former US president seemed to take another page from Raja Babu’s book when he launched a series of ludicrous Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Raja, to impress city-slicker Madhu (Karisma Kapoor), pasted photographs in various costumes on his living room wall — “yeh hai Raja Babu doctor ke pose mein; yeh lawyer ke pose mein”, says his Man Friday. In each of his NFTs, up for sale, Trump too can be seen in various poses: Donald the superhero, Donald the astronaut, Cowboy Trump and Santa Trump. Over 45,000 of these “Trump cards” were sold almost immediately. On social media and TV shows, there was mirth at Trump’s expense and the ridiculous outfits he digitally donned. But Donald would have the last laugh: The digital “art” sold out in record time.

Just as the “mass” ’90s’ Bollywood comedies ruled the box office, Trump — despite the attacks on his latest money-making scheme — will likely turn in a profit. But Raja Babu’s true educational qualifications (Madhu discovers) were negligible and the authenticity of Trump’s digital “art” is now under question. If only those who obsessively track Trump had broader cultural horizons and been exposed to the Govinda classic, they could have predicted the entire episode. For those on the sidelines, though, Donald Babu’s antics are just as entertaining as Raja Babu.

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