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Tunak Tunak Tun (or simply known as Tunak) is a series of parody dance videos based on the Punjabi love song and music video created by Daler Mehndi. Because of its catchy tune and the amusing dance, the music video inspired numerous parodies, involving four cloned men dancing in an unusual style to a catchy Bhangra song. The phrase “Tunak Tunak Tun” doesn’t actually mean anything but goes well with the beat.
Tunak Tunak Tun (ਤੁਨਕ ਤੁਨਕ ਤੁਨ) is a Bhangra Pop song released in 1998 by Punjabi musician Daler Mehndi. At the time, Indian music critics were skeptical of Mehndi’s popularity, speculating that his main appeal was the women dancing in his music videos, like in “Ho Jayegi Balle Balle”.
In response to criticisms of his previous music videos, Mehndi sought a drastically different style with “Tunak Tunak Tun” by featuring four clones of himself (representing the four natural elements) dancing and singing over various CGI backgrounds. Despite the lack of “hawt babes” dancing in the music video, the song was a success in the world of Bhangra Pop.
The first parody “Tunak Tunak Tun” music video was created by internet comedian Dan Gomiller and uploaded in 2001. According to the IMDB entry, Gomiller’s parody video recieved 17,000 hits a day at its peak:
The first YouTube response video was uploaded on June 10, 2006:
Other dance parodies soon followed on YouTube, mostly of people doing the dance in real life. On December 2, 2006, Tunak Tunak Tun video was featured as part of a series on Phonetic Translations by YouTube artist Buffalax. (Channel deactivated for copyright infringement.)
In early 2007, the Tunak phenomenon was revived by online gaming fans for a short time, when YouTube user AmandaJ3162 uploaded a World of Warcraft (WOW) rendition of the Tunak dance, featuring avatars from the Draenei race, using animations from the Burning Crusade Expansion Pack: