The Brief: Tunak Tunak Tun memes use images and GIFs from a 1998 Indian music video sung by and starring Daler Mehndi.
Tunak Tunak Tun memes come from a 1998 Punjabi music video of the song “Tunak Tunak Tun,” by Daler Mehndi. These memes, which often refer to the song as just “Tunak,” typically feature GIFs and videos of the dancers in the music video. As the music video features ever-smiling dancers, bright costumes, and obviously green-screened backgrounds, its silliness, and unironic positivity makes it a multi-purpose meme source.
The video features a plot about four men, who are all played by Mehndi. They wear red, orange, brown, and green clothing to represent the elements earth, fire, wind, and water. Lyrics repeated throughout the song: “Tunak tunak tun/Da da da” don’t mean anything specific. Rather, they are a series of made-up words and sounds.
This video and related memes have become an international viral hit. On YouTube, a version of the video uploaded by Sony Music Entertainment India in 2014 has received over 140 million views.
Tunak Tunak Tun image macro and GIF memes are particularly popular on Reddit on r/dankmemes, where they’re used in a wide variety of contexts. Some are reminiscent of Joker dancing memes while others use the positive energy and bright colors in the video to bring a wholesome element.