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The BIGGEST internet sensations of 2012

Last updated on: December 31, 2012 19:36 IST

The BIGGEST internet sensations of 2012

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While Gangnam style emerged the most popular video on YouTube, home grown celebrities like Nirmal Baba and Sherlyn Chopra also had their fair share of internet fame. Read on to know why and how these people dominated the internet in 2012.

Sherlyn Chopra      

We are yet to see this Indian model on the cover of Playboy -- she is slated to appear in the March cover of the magazine. That hasn't however stopped the model-actress from tweeting her nude pictures from the shoot in October this year.

When the 30-something siren, who has more than 1, 33,000 followers was barred from posting any more nude pictures on the microblogging site, Chopra confessed: "A part of me is a sexual exhibitionist......The exhibitionist loves to flirt with shame."

Later, she also confirmed that she will be appearing in Rupesh Paul's upcoming Kamasutra 3D which will premiere at the Cannes next year while posting some of these pictures on her twitter handle.

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Image: Sherlyn Chopra in Kamasutra 3D


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Nirmal Baba

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Love him, hate him, you cannot ignore Nirmal Baba.

The controversial godman, who has several allegations of cheating and fraud against him, is best known for his discourses that attract hundreds and thousands of viewers on YouTube.

Nirmaljeet Singh Narula was a brick kiln owner who called himself Nirmal Baba upon supposedly after attaining nirvana in a Jharkhand forest.

Nirmal Darbar -- a paid spiritual discourse programme he holds -- is telecast across multiple television channels and is shockingly popular on YouTube. One of its episodes has to this date garnered 823,612 views.

In April 2012 he sued Bhadas4media.com and asked them to withdraw from their website defamatory write-ups and videos against him.

The website had apparently challenged the claims of the self proclaimed godman's programme 'Third Eye of Nirmal Baba' being listed among the top 5 programmes in the Hindi news category. It poked fun at his discourses too, he said in his petition.

In September 2012, the Delhi High Court instead came down heavily upon Nirmal Baba ordering him to stop giving 'absurd' and 'illogical' solutions to his disciples.

Even so his website ranks 29,821 in India according to Alexa and his Facebook page has 353,783 followers and counting.


Image: Nirmal Baba
Photographs: Surendrav/Wikimedia Commons

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PSY's Gangnam style

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What can you say about PSY except that if you have no idea what we're talking about you could well have been living under a rock for the last few months.

In less than a month after the video was posted on YouTube, Gangnam Style became such a huge hit that it had everyone from Shah Rukh Khan and Usain Bolt to Madonna dancing to it.

Gangnam fever also did not spare British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama who also attempted to ape its famous dance moves.

But the feather in PSY's cap perhaps was when UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also shook a leg alongside him and hailed it as a 'force for world peace'.

The Gangnam style video surpassed Justin Bieber's single 'Baby' to emerge the first video in the history of the Internet to be viewed more than one billion times.


Image: Cover of Psy's overnight hit single Gangnam Style


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Krishna Narayan

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When a doting father from Kerala's Mallapuram district posted a video of his eight year old son's batting talent on YouTube, little did he know that the young boy will be hailed as the next big thing in cricket.

The video starring Krishna Narayan showing off his unique batting skills went viral attracting over five lakh visitors from across the country on the video sharing site.

After watching the video, the Kerala Cricket Association lauded the youngster's passion for the sport and introduced him to Ranji coach Biju George who is currently mentoring the prodigy.


Image: Krishna Narayan
Photographs: Courtesy Facebook

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Aseem Trivedi

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In September 2012, the political cartoonist who was involved with Save Your Voice, a people-driven campaign against internet censorship, decided to join in the Anti Corruption crusade and launched Cartoons against Corruption featuring 50 anti-corruption cartoons.

Within 24 hours, the Mumbai Crime Branch demanded the website be taken down and arrested Trivedi on September 24, 2012 on charges of sedition.

Whether his cartoons were in good taste or not is perhaps a matter of debate. Even so Trivedi caught the attention of Virginia-based Cartoonists Rights Network International that awarded him the "Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award".

The 25-year-old was last seen in the sixth season of the ongoing television reality show Bigg Boss.



Image: Aseem Trivedi walks out of Arthur Road prison
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Poonam Pandey

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The Rakhi Sawant of Twitter, Poonam Pandey had shot into limelight around the 2011 Cricket World Cup promising to strip if the Indian team won the tournament.

We did and she disappeared from the face of the Internet, only to return on Twitter stripping a piece of clothing every other week.

This year, the wannabe actress who had once participated in the Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl, continued with her stripping streak even spurring on imitators wanting their 15 minutes of fame.

Pandey's work before the camera did finally pay off. She is set to star in a Bollywood film, Nasha set to release next year.



Image: Poonam Pandey posted this on the microblogging site
Photographs: Courtesy Twitter

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Felix Baumgartner

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The American daredevil skydiver and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner thought it might not be such a bad idea to, you know, travel to and jump to earth from the stratosphere.

On October 14, he did just that jumping off a capsule setting the altitude record for a manned balloon flight, a parachute jump from the highest altitude and greatest free fall velocity.

He covered an estimated 39 kilometres at a speed of 1,342 kilometres per hour and landed safely on earth.

Baumgartner was also the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power on his descent, which is just one of the many audacious feats.

In the past, he's claimed the world record for the highest parachute jump when he dived from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1999.

He is also the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a custom made carbon fibre wing, a unique record he claimed on July 25, 2003.



Image: Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after he lands at the desert
Photographs: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull via Getty Images

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The Palghar girls

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It all began with a single post from on Facebook questioning whether a bandh in the name of leader Balasaheb Thackeray's death was justified.

When 21-year-old Shaheen Dhada posted the message on her Facebook wall and Rinu Srinivasan, 21 'liked' it, little did the two realise they would be walking into a nightmare.

Within hours, irate Shiv Sainiks vandalised a hospital owned by the Dhada's uncle in Palghar and the police arrested the girls for 'hurting religious sentiments'.

As media organisations and citizens rose up in their defence, the charges were first downgraded and eventually dropped altogether.

The 'Palghar girls' as they are popularly known were invited to speak at the IIM-Ahmedabad and interact with their students on December 21 and 22 this year.

More recently Rinu Srinivasan also starred in a video titled Facebook Mania which is said to be released online on January 1, 2013.

The video is part of a music album titled One Roof.



Image: Rinu Srinivasan and Shaheen Dhada at the Palghar police station
Photographs: Ganesh A Nadar/Rediff.com

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