Indian star Rashmika Mandanna’s deepfake video leaves nation furious


A short clip of what appears to be popular Indian star Rashmika Mandanna entering an elevator exploded in India and received condemnation around the world.

At first glance, the video appears to be a harmless clip of the 27-year-old Bollywood star, who has 39 million followers on Instagram, in sportswear exiting the elevator.

But despite looking painfully realistic, the video isn’t Mandanna at all.

The woman in the video was actually a British-Indian influencer named Zara Patel, and her real face was visible in the first frame of the six-second video.

Deepfakes are fake images or videos created using artificial intelligence.

The phenomenon is nothing new, but recent advances in technology have led to eerily compelling videos being posted online every day.

The star himself is now calling for greater regulation of AI technology, calling the clip “extremely scary” and saying it shows how the technology can be easily abused.

A short clip of what appears to be popular Indian star Rashmika Mandanna entering an elevator has exploded in India.

Abhishek Kumar, a journalist from India, traced the origins of the fake video and called for new “legal and regulatory” measures to address the grisly phenomenon, while thousands of people condemned the video for using Mandanna’s image without her permission.

The incident has sparked further debate in Indian media publications about how exactly to combat deepfake technology as artificial intelligence continues to develop at breakneck speed.

“There is an urgent need for a legal and regulatory framework to address deepfake in India. You may have seen this viral video of actor Rashmika Mandanna on Instagram. But wait, this is a fake video of Zara Patel,” Kumar posted.

Mandanna took a stand against deepfake technology on Monday and thanked her fans for their support.

The clip has received condemnation around the world.

“I feel very hurt sharing this and I have to speak out about the fake video of me that spread online. “Honestly, something like this is extremely scary, not only for me, but for each of us who today are vulnerable to so much harm due to the misuse of technology,” he wrote.

“But if this happened to me when I was at school or university, I really can’t imagine how I could deal with it. “We need to address this as a community and urgently before more of us are affected by identity theft.”

Several celebrities showed their support for Mandanna and expressed their surprise at the deceptive use of technology.

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan supported Mandanna and called for legal action against the creators of the deepfake video.

Other celebrities, including singer Chinmayi Sripaada, also expressed concerns over the misuse of technology and the need for legal protection.

“It is truly disheartening to see how technology is being misused and the thought of how far this can progress in the future is even more frightening,” Sripaada posted online.

“Measures must be taken and some type of law must be enforced to protect the people who have been and will be victims of this. Strength to you.”

Fans defended Mandanna and demanded that strict laws be implemented to combat fakes.

The deepfake phenomenon has hit the headlines in recent weeks, with Australia’s own Hamish Blake caught in a “scary” video scam.

Mandanna tweeted that she “agrees” that unregulated deepfakes can wreak havoc around the world.
AFP via Getty Images

An ad running on Instagram features a somewhat convincing video of the comedian and host appearing to promote weight loss gummies.

“Two months ago, I saw an ad for gummies and the website said that with the help of this product, you can lose 25 pounds in four weeks,” fake Blake says in the ad.

“I decided to order four bottles and in the first few days nothing changed. I was skeptical about this. But what was my surprise when my weight began to evaporate.

“After just two weeks, I had lost six kilos. At the end of the course she had lost 13 kilos.”

The fake Blake sounds alarmingly similar to the real one and the vision, although low resolution, animates his face and shows his moving mouth.

Fans hope that strict laws will be put in place to regulate the use of deepfakes.
Rashmika Mandanna/Instagram

On air this morning, 2GB Breakfast host Ben Fordham said he knows Blake well and was shocked when he saw the Instagram announcement over the weekend.

“That sounds like Hamish Blake,” Fordham said, before introducing the real star.

“I promise this is the real Hamish,” Blake said. “This one won’t sell you magic beans in the form of weight loss gummies.”

He said that with some two decades of recorded examples of his voice available online thanks to his prolific career in radio and television, artificial intelligence technology has a lot to work with.

Mandanna says India needs to face this “as a community” to see change.

“I guess there are enough words available to make me say anything,” he said.

Authorities around the world are scrambling to establish guardrails for AI, and several US states, such as Minnesota, have passed laws to criminalize deepfakes intended to harm political candidates or influence elections.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden signed an ambitious executive order to promote the “safe and trustworthy” use of AI.

“Deep fakes use AI-generated audio and video to defame reputations…spread false news and commit fraud,” Biden said as he signed the order.

He expressed concern that scammers could take a three-second recording of someone’s voice to generate deepfake audio.

“I’ve seen one of me,” he said.

“I said, ‘When the hell did I say that?’”


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