The first time Bhuvan Bam was recognised in public was in Connaught Place in New Delhi. He heard someone call out “Dr Sehgal”, who is one of the characters Bam has created for his YouTube channel BB ki Vines. Bam turned around at the sound of the name, confirming that it was him. “That was the first time I gave a selfie,” he tells Mumbai Mirror over the phone from Delhi, referring to the modern practice of taking selfies with fans rather than scribbling down autographs. “I was glad to note that at least people in CP were watching my videos.”
That incident took place five months after Bam had launched BB ki Vines on YouTube in June 2015. Last month, he became the first Indian to hit 10 million subscribers on the video-sharing website. His videos have been viewed over 1.3 billion times. It’s safe to say, a lot of people all over the country are watching his videos. Not bad for a 24-year-old who writes, edits, shoots, stars in, and produces his own clips.
Brought up in Delhi, in what he calls a typical middle-class Indian family, Bam displays a talent for satire and has created over a dozen relatable characters, based on family members and friends, all of whom are played by him. His videos are in Hindi and feature swear words, sexual innuendo and the parent-child dynamic. Among his more popular characters is ‘Titu Mama’, who he says is based on his uncle. “Now people in Vadodara who live nearby have started calling [my uncle] Titu Mama,” he says.
Bam likes to take it slow, posting no more than twice a month. All the videos are shot in his terraced home on his mobile phone. He takes a couple of weeks to conceptualise, write and edit each script, about four hours to shoot and another three hours to edit the videos. “It’s all about observation and patience and not forcing it,” he says.
The feedback he gets in the comments section has taught him what works and what doesn’t. “You get your verdict within an hour — either it is good or bad.”
His videos aren’t beautifully produced but as a result they feel real and relatable. “When I started, all the humour was in English and I thought nobody was doing something which was like two friends talking,” he says. “So I thought let’s try it. And I was amazed that so many people — the youth, college students, school students — related to it.”
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