By Jigar Shah
As we got talking to Bhuvan Bam, one could sense the warmth he carries, despite the fact we were at two different places connected by a zoom call. It never felt that it was our first conversation, just like two people whom destiny has brought together for a chat. Guess it was this warmth that connected him to his audience and made him the biggest YouTuber in the country. The artist is a one-man army who creates, shoots and acts in his own YouTube videos. There are 19 quirky characters that he has created till now, and rest assured, he will be creating more.
Acting is not new for Bhuvan, but it has been limited to his YouTube videos. Barring a short film ‘Plus Minus’ for which he even won a Filmfare award, he is slowly and gradually transitioning to acting in longer format shows. His first show ‘Dhindora’ created quite a stir and raked in more than 500 million views. He is currently working on three shows, the first being ‘Taaza Khabar’ which aired on Disney+ Hotstar on 21st September, 2022. Expresso Magazine spoke to the actor about his journey into acting and what the future holds for him. Excerpts below:
You are one of the biggest content creators in the ecosystem. You have more than 2.25 million subscribers on YouTube and 12 million followers on Instagram. What do these numbers mean to you?
Bhuvan Bam : They aren’t just numbers for me. They are people with whom I have shared emotions through my comedy, music, or Instagram live sessions that have resonated with them. If these many people are following me, they are doing it for a reason. Today people consume content, but they don’t follow them all. People follow a YouTube Channel or Instagram Page not just because of the content but because of the relatability to the creator. I really respect them and like to keep in touch with them.
You were known for making content close to reality, but do you feel that the reality around you has changed with success?
Bhuvan Bam : My reality is the close four-five friends that I have. I have realized that anyone I meet outside my close friend’s circle is meeting me for a reason. Your genuine connections had forged while you were in school and college. After that, whatever people do is with a motive. People connect with you for a reason.
I’m not saying that everyone is bad. Every person enters your life to teach you something. I like meeting everyone, but in the end, only those five-six people will remain in my inner circle and will be my most trusted people.
You do comedy sketches, make music, and are venturing into proper fiction acting with Taaza Khabar. In all this, who is the real Bhuvan Bam?
Bhuvan Bam : All of them are real. Like when I was prepping for Taaza Khabar, till the first day of the shoot, I didn’t realize that the character I was playing in the show was a version of me. I worked on my language as I had to speak a lot in Marathi and very Mumbaiya Marathi. I speak Marathi, but I don’t have that kind of command over it. I played it as a Maharashtrian version of myself. With Taaza Khabar, I’ve realized that you always put a little bit of yourself into any character you play. If you play your character honestly, it will translate on screen. Like I feel there is a Titu Mama in me, an aspect of me who thinks like that. Yes, there will be roles wherein I will have to play someone who is not me, but I haven’t come across any such fictional character yet.
You began your public career by singing at a restaurant. You’ve released multiple singles wherein you have written, sung and composed your songs. But now, with acting gigs coming up, will the musician take a back seat, or will there be an attempt to merge acting and music?
Bhuvan Bam : Yes, there is an attempt to merge the two. Music is an integral part of Indian cinema and is very important in my life and projects. If the music hits you in the feels, it helps the movie or TV show’s story and characters become relatable. It instils this belief that it is real. Take any big star, not only their hit films but also their songs. When you think of Rajesh Khanna, you also think of his numerous songs with Kishore Kumar.
Music is one part I would always take along with me. We needed at least fifteen songs for my upcoming project. I have never made these many songs, so work is on for that. For another project, we need eight songs, which are also happening simultaneously. A proper conversation occurs, like if we put a song of a specific genre in the story, how will it look or whether it will convey what the character is thinking in that scene. We also believe that art is forever. It will remain even after we are gone. So, the attempt is to make something that even the next generations will like and appreciate. There needs to be some honesty toward your work for it to transcend across time.
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