Every once in a while, you have an idea that is so outlandish and uniquely absurd that you didn’t even know you needed it before the thought arose. This is the case with “Meatball Mondays,” a weekly tradition started by UM students Rohan Rana and Shayaan Qazi. The duo recreates famous images with a Subway meatball marinara sub as the centerpiece. They’ve already tackled the likes of “Karate Kid,” Michelangelo and “Scarface,” and after getting a nod of approval from Subway, there’s no telling what’s next.
The Miami Hurricane sat down with Rohan Rana to discuss the inspiration behind the idea and the inner workings of Meatball Mondays, which Rana dubbed a “passion.”
THE MIAMI HURRICANE: How were Meatball Mondays born?
ROHAN RANA: One day after chem lab freshman year, I asked Shayaan, “Hey, would you want to go to Subway with me?” It was fun, so I asked him very formally at Subway, “Dude, would you be willing to do this every week until we graduate?” So the tradition began, but it was still a while before we took the first photo which was of me replicating “The Lion King,” holding up my sub to look like Simba. I can’t say exactly how that idea came about. The creative juices were just flowing that day.
TMH: The resemblance of your photos to the originals is uncanny. How many tries does it take to get each shot?
R: We either get really lucky, or it can take forever. If you look at the earlier ones it was more like, “Hey, let’s just put a photo out there,” and the details weren’t always exact. But as we’ve continued, we’ve become more detail-oriented. With “Men in Black,” for example, it took two photographers and 40 tries. If I’m not feeling the photo, we don’t post it.
TMH: The attention to detail seems to be paying off because recently you’ve been gaining some traction.
R: Yeah, one of my friends from back home posted an album of our pictures to Imgur.
and 272,000 views, and the online magazine Thought Catalog ended up doing a write-up about it, which Subway actually saw. They tweeted me saying how much they loved it and sent me some gift cards in the mail for my loyalty.
TMH: What do the employees at the Subway location you frequent think of all this?
R: The guy who works there’s name is Vladimir, and he loves us. We walk in Monday night, every time, and he doesn’t even ask what I want. He just starts making it immediately, and he always makes it perfectly.
TMH: How far in advance are each week’s ideas conceived?
R: Sometimes I already know what next week’s theme is going to be while we’re shooting the current week’s photo. Other times there might be a problem with what we had planned, and I’ll have to think on my feet the day of.
TMH: Any hints as to what some of the upcoming themes might be?
R: I can’t be specific. You’ll just have to wait and see.
TMH: What are your future plans for Meatball Mondays at this point?
R: We’re just going to keep doing what we do.
Follow Meatball Mondays on Instagram (@meatballmondays_official) to stay up-to-date with the latest masterpieces.