In the era of viral videos, a humble peanut vendor has become an Internet sensation. The catchy ‘Kacha badam’, sung by Bhuban Badyakar in a remote village in West Bengal, has caught the fancy of hip hop dancers in many countries.
The vendor sang the song as a ‘peanut sales pitch’ on the streets of Kuraljuri village in the Birbhum district. Little did he know he would become a star in a matter of weeks.
The 12 ‘Kacha badam’ remixes combined have got more than 70 million hits on YouTube. The original remix alone has clocked 44 million views on YouTube. Moreover, it’s all over TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Taka Tak, and Moj.
In India, Bhuban’s song has become a rage in popular pubs. And thanks to Nisha Bhatt of Bajewala records Haryanvi, the hip-hop style rendition of ‘Kacha badam’ has now crossed borders and reached Africa, the United States, Europe, and Australia.
The song is about the nutritional values of the peanut, also its crunch, aroma, easy accessibility and that any time is a good time to munch on them. Badam, in this context, is not almonds but peanuts. Bhuban calls it the common man’s almonds.
Bengaluru had also drawn a similar parallel to ‘Kadlekai’ (peanuts in Kannada) way back in 1970 with a song from the film ‘Karulina Kare’ (1970) starring Dr Rajkumar and Kalpana.
In the song ‘Kadle kayi, kadle kayi’, Kalpana is a peanut seller. She goes around Cubbon Park selling peanuts, singing praises for historical and social relevance. Director Puttanna Kanagal, who had also written the song, had likened the peanuts to ‘Badavara Badami’ (poor man’s almonds).
The song is a favourite among film-goers of the 70s. The All India Radio played the song everyday. Local singers would sing this song on Sundays, around the bandstand in Cubbon Park and the glasshouse in Lalbagh. And Sunday park-goers would munch away baskets full of peanuts.
Unlike ‘Kacha badam’, the Kannada song dropped on YouTube only in 2017 and has since clocked over 40,000 views. But one must not forget that an entire generation of Kannada film-goers has sung it in their voices. The only difference between ‘Kacha badam’ and ‘Kadle kayi’ songs is that the former speaks of raw groundnuts while the latter is about roasted ones.