Team Melodi woos India as Meloni-Modi video goes viral

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Italy for the G7 summit, it was not the diplomatic meetings that dominated the headlines in India, but his relations with his Italian counterpart.

“Greetings from the 'Melodi' team,” Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in a video posted on social media on Saturday, waving alongside her right-wing party colleague Modi and beaming from ear to ear.

The two are publicly close friends, as evidenced at the G20 summit in India last year and at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

Modi, who reposted Meloni's video on X and praised relations between Rome and New Delhi in Italian, was in the resort of Borgo Egnazia on the sidelines of the G7 summit attended by Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

He wrote that he met with Meloni to strengthen relations “in areas such as trade, energy, defense, telecommunications and more.”

But in India, it was the short Modi-Meloni video that caught attention on Sunday – and sparked a flood of memes and videos on social media dedicated to the fictional relationship between the two leaders.

In this fantasy world, the politicians have become the main characters in an internet love story that includes betrayal and heartbreak as well as happy moments.

AI-generated videos viewed by millions show Modi singing a love song every time Meloni appears with a political leader other than himself.

But the newspapers were also extremely critical and quickly reacted to the cool temperature.

“Like other women in high office, Meloni is seen through a male prism – hot or not?” said the Times of India editorial.

“No matter how influential she is, no matter what she knows or becomes, a woman can always be subjected to such degrading portrayal,” it continued.

“As the Meloni discourse shows, old-fashioned misogyny is difficult to eradicate.”