By Kanika Katyal:
Life is short, and so are Instagram videos.
Call it the compulsions of the fast-paced city life, or lifestyle disorders, or just the lack of patience, the attention span of the audiences is diminishing day by day. In our big, bad world of social media, trends change rapidly, and the digital media keeps inventing new tools to keep pace.
Today, entertainment is served in small packages. A new genre of comedy, hard to describe in one word, has completely taken over our imagination. A combination of humour that is goofy, crazy, absurd is currently everyone’s favourite!
Today, one does not simply watch one Instagram video!
In the international circuit, there is Lilly Singh aka Superwoman, the YouTube artist from Canada, who makes videos on practically everything under the sun. Then there’s Jasmeet Singh, he’s one of the biggest YouTube and Vine artists, you’ve never heard of, unless you’ve heard of Jus Reign.
In India, if you know the who’s who of the virtual world, there’s not a chance that you have not cracked up on Vir Das’s videos, or stumbled upon VJ Jose Covaco’s ‘misheard lyrics’. With followers beyond thousands, these celebrities have mastered the art of keeping their audience in splits, in all of 14 seconds or less!
With more than 33,000 followers on Facebook, and 10,000 subscribers on YouTube, Gaurav Gera, of ‘Chutki-Shopkeeper’ fame is the latest to join the bandwagon. “I wanted a girl who could say things that a “good girl” wouldn’t normally say, because society doesn’t want to hear them, but at the same time was cute and likeable. I observed very carefully, “ladkiyon ke jo bhi basic traits hote hain, kuch khaas nakhre hote hain. That, Don’t-cross-the-line look, and bargaining pasand hoti hai. I wanted to present a cliché woman in a non-cliché manner,” he explains his thought process behind the character of Chutki. “And what inspired the “hein ji, behnji?”,” I ask. “I’m a Punjabi, myself. So I wanted someone jo Punjab aur Haryana border ka ho. Language mein thodi Haryanvi aur Punjabi mixed ho. And I thought it would be an interesting clash, Chutki jitni upmarket banti hai, Shopkeeper utna hi desi hai.”
That his videos shot to “InstaFame” quickly, is evident by the fact that popular app, Dubsmash also offers users to make selfie videos on Chutki-Shopkeeper dialogues. “Pehle to mujhe vishvas hi nahin hota tha. Because Dubsmash nikalte hain Bollywood movies ke, ya koi aisa dialogue jo chhapa ho dimaag mein bachpan se. Uspe bante hain, toh mujhe samajh bhi aata hai. Par aise chutki-shopkeeper pe banne lagey toh mujhe laga ki, Oh God! It’s huge!”
“I received a message from somebody telling me that she was going through a difficult phase in life, and my videos came like a breath of fresh air to her,” he recalls his fondest experience.
“And what about the worst reactions that came to his videos?” I ask.
“Worst criticism toh main phat se delete kar deta hun,” he quips.
“Aur aagey block bhi kar deta hun. I want to remain in a happy space,” he adds.
We caught up with the entertainer, for a fun, crazy, selfie interview, and here’s what followed.