Social Media stars: The rise of Bhuvan Bam
India’s first legit youtube star began his journey as a restaurant singer. Four years later, he is hobnobbing with Bollywood’s best. How did he do it? The 25-year old reveals a few secrets behind his success.
Four years ago, Bhuvam Bam was a college kid who had a night job as a singer at a Mughal restaurant in Dehlhi. Today, he is India’s first legit YouTube superstar helped by sheer luck, “and also a lot of hard work!”
“You can’t compare 10 years of YouTube with 150 years of Bollywood. Give us three years; YouTube will give Bollywood tough competition!”
His channel BB Ki Vines (Bhuvan Bam Ki Vines), started in 2015 and has 1.69 billion views and 13.3 million subscribers as compared to his closest competition Amit Bhadana’s channel with 945 million views and 14.4 million subscribers. The Facebook page of BB Ki Vines has nine to 10 million unique page views a week. It was only last year that Bhadana beat him in the subscriber count.
But unlike his YouTube competitors, Bhuvan has diversified his content. Besides funny videos, he is also establishing himself as a singer, actor and an interviewer. He even collaborated with international YouTube stat Lilly Singh last month. He acted in a short film with Divya Dutta called Plus Minus last year, and recently bagged a Filmfare award for the same.
His meteoric rise has become a reference point but looking back Bhuvan credits his success on the lack of strategy; Shirt and shoes, Unit by Rajat Suri; coat, waistcoat, and trousers, Arrow; tie, Sacoor Brothers; pocket Square, Kenzo’ watch, Tissot (Avneet Chadha)
However, between all the viral content on the internet, what is it about Bhuvan that has made Bollywood sit up and take notice of him? Karan Johar gave him a shoutout on his Instargam page (“With the immensely talented and hugely popular @bhuvan.bam22! Great meeting you Bhuvan”!” he wrote sharing a selfie) and last month, Bhuvan and KJo shared the stage at the YouTube Fanfest held in Mumbai. Titu Talks, where his character Titu Mama interviews celebrities, featured Shah Rukh Khan last December.
“I want to be the Dharma productions of YouTube. Also, I want to develop the BB universe, complete with origin stories…”
The start of BB Ki Vines was an instinctive reaction, not a planned one. “I was watching the devastations of the Kashmir floods, and a reporter was asking floods, and a reporter was asking a local, who had just lost her house and her son, how she was feeling. I was stunned at the insensitivity. I did a 10-15 second satire on it, and put it up on Facebook”, Bhuvan says of the popular, but now deleted, video.
Filmmaker Karan Johar recently put out a post with the “immensely talented” Bhuvan Bam and SRK has featured in one of his episodes.
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