Amit Bhadana’s Desi Connect
The YouTuber on his smash hit ‘Parichay,’ creating humorous vignettes and the power of language
If you happened to run into Amit Bhadana on a random afternoon, you wouldn’t realize that he is a YouTube megastar. With a sheepish smile, he walks in and asks, “Where do you need me to stand?” as we set up the space at the YouTube FanFest press event. There is something absolutely unnerving about his timid demeanour which transforms once the camera is pointed at Bhadana. Then the nervousness dissipates, the creator emerges and leaves no doubt about why he boasts 14 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. To put the number into perspective, that’s almost as many subscribers as Lilly Singh. The 25-year-old creator jokes, “Lage raho. 50, 100 (million) kara lete hai isko – jaldi se jaldi (Keep going. Let’s make this number 50-100 million as soon as we possibly can.)”
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner is a production powerhouse who writes his own scripts and directs and edits his own videos. What sets him apart is language. Stepping away from mainstream urban Hindi, Bhadana produces content in the Gujari language, making his videos more accessible to the masses, and with 45 million views (and counting) for his video Types of People in a Bus, his connect with the Indian audience is undeniable.“The reason behind this connectivity is that what I’m doing is different and nobody was creating these kinds of videos (in Gujari) before. I think that people like the originality behind the content and can relate to the videos. This is why, even in the future, I want to write sketches which allow people, no matter where they’re seated, whether in Bombay or Bangalore, to say, ”˜Yaar, aisa apne saath bhi hua hai – kahi na kahi’ (Man, this has happened to me too),” reveals the YouTuber who does not wish to copy the content being produced in the west. “The original reaches people faster than the copy,” he remarks.
Bhadana believes that when it comes to representation, one must understand the meaning behind it and then operate on the basis of a certain set of principles. “Bas matlab sirf views ke liye hi desi nahi hona chahiye, garv se desi hona chahiye (You should not be desi for the views, you should be proud to be desi),” he emphasises.
His videos can be best described as humorous vignettes about everyday life. When a sketch goes up depends on whether Bhadana is attending to a previously cached thought or is fleshing out a presently conceived idea. “Koi kahaani aise hoti hai ki woh ek dum se click kar jaati hai, aur kuch kahaaniyaan aise bhi hoti hai jahaan karte karte pata lag jaata hai ki yaar yeh acchi nahi jaa raha hai (Some stories you instantly click with, while other stories just don’t work out),” discloses the creator. Bhadana promises more than just YouTube content in the future. There’s a comedy film in the works and a web series too. He refuses to reveal anymore than this tidbit but he does tell us that both projects are in the writing stage, going on to drop a line from his smash hit track “Parichay”– “Bataane ko mere paas baatein hazaar, lekin khud tak rakhna chahta hoon kuch raaz.” (I have a thousand things to say, but I wish to keep some of those secrets to myself).
With “Parichay,” Bhadana sought to break away from his comedic roots, even if for a moment. Â The rap song, released earlier this year and composed in collaboration with rapper Ikka and musician Byg Byrd, received two million views within the first three hours of it being uploaded. “Dil se banaayi cheez thi, woh dil tak pahunch gayi – yeh apne aap mein hi bahut badi baat hai” (I made the song with all my heart and the song reached the hearts of many – this, in itself, is a big deal), the YouTuber expressed about the warm responses that fans sent his way. He chose the medium of music because he wanted to share his life story with his audience (or friends as he calls them) and comedy couldn’t do what he knew song would. The purpose behind “Parichay” was to inspire. Bhadana wanted people to know that “agar banda struggle kare, mehnat kare, toh woh kya nahi paa sakta.” (If a man struggles for and works hard for what he wants, there’s nothing he can’t achieve).
The rhyme master ducks out of our request for a song (laughing and citing bad vocals as the reason), but leaves us with a parting line, an ode to his friends, “Cricket mein Dhoni, cinema mein Dharmendra, logon ka pyaar itna, boond boond se khada kar diya maine samindar.” (Cricket has Dhoni, cinema has Dharmendra, people gave me so much of love, I took ever drop and raised the ocean).