Namah Chawla

“Wanted to create a web series as good as any OTT show”: Bhuvan Bam on debut show Dhindora

Created for his YouTube channel ‘BB Ki Vines’, Dhindora features Bam in nine different roles. A chat with the YouTuber.

So, what makes Dhindora, Bhuvan Bam's first web show for his YouTube channel BB Ki Vines, interesting? Well, its born out of multiple characters who rose to fame from Bam’s vines over the years.

Dhindora is a light-hearted show that depicts a common man’s larger-than-life dreams through the story of a dysfunctional family. Produced by Rohit Raj and directed by Himank Gaur, the show features Bam in nine different roles.

The YouTuber is also behind the screenplay, lyrics, and has even sung for the show. Its first episode generated over 23 million views within just four days. Bam’s content clearly resonates with the audiences.

Bam didn't become popular overnight. What has worked extremely well for this versatile YouTuber is that he’s managed to create relatable content across genres like comedy videos, original songs, etc.

afaqs! caught up with Bam over a Zoom call to know more about Dhindora, the brands hed like to work with, YouTubers migrating to OTT platforms, and more.

Edited excerpts:

What was the idea behind Dhindora? Can you take us through the brainstorming process and how you thought of developing the characters?

Dhindora was initially supposed to be a two-hour movie. Thanks to OTT platforms, the audiences have now become very well versed with the series format. So, we thought of creating episodes and release them over eight weeks. This way, the audiences would stick with us throughout.

Had it been a movie, people would have seen it and then shared the spoilers with those who hadn't.

The character development process started happening much earlier, as Dhindora was first conceptualised in 2017. The audiences are seeing it now. We wanted to create a series that match the level of any (series) created by OTT platforms.

“Wanted to create a web series as good as any OTT show”: Bhuvan Bam on debut show Dhindora
“Wanted to create a web series as good as any OTT show”: Bhuvan Bam on debut show Dhindora
“Wanted to create a web series as good as any OTT show”: Bhuvan Bam on debut show Dhindora
“Wanted to create a web series as good as any OTT show”: Bhuvan Bam on debut show Dhindora

It was a tedious process to make the audiences believe that these aren't just characters, but actual people. And also, it wasn't just one guy playing all the characters.

The idea of telling stories by playing multiple characters has worked wonders for you. Did you think that this type of storytelling would become so popular?

It's a unique thing for people to see a person play multiple characters. But I'm used to playing them and don't see it from the perspective of popularity. I see it from the point of view of entertainment. This way, people can enjoy the content, the humour lands aptly and the story is relatable. I think I will only win and Dhindora will become a success when all these boxes get ticked.

Sometimes, people say that views don't matter, but that isn't true. Views absolutely matter because, at the end of the day, it implies the number of people your content has managed to reach out to. It's a really good feeling to look at the views and the kind of responses we've been getting. The audiences seem to have accepted this format and are ready for more.

"Views absolutely matter because, at the end of the day, it implies the number of people your content has managed to reach out to."

There's constant migration from YouTube to premium OTT platforms. Is it a leap ahead for the content creator to get a show on Netflix or Amazon Prime?

The show (Dhindora) is on YouTube so that people get to know this type of content can also be created for the platform. As a content creator, I shouldn't be waiting for someone to reach out to me with an opportunity.

A creator is someone who is not limited to one platform. If tomorrow, YouTube shuts down, then I can't just sit at home. The platform gives us an opportunity to present our craft to the audiences, but it can't contain your creative juices.

OTT platforms provide premium content. YouTube doesn’t pay that much. The day YouTube starts paying the same amount of money (as OTT platforms), we will start approaching it respectfully.

"The day YouTube starts paying the same amount of money (as OTT platforms), we will start approaching it respectfully."

But the amount of flexibility that YouTube provides to content creators is quite something. You can post your content for free at any time of the day. You're your own king on the platform. YouTube has given opportunity to so many people, including me. We don't have to rely on any other platform.

You've seen digital audiences evolve over the years. What, in your opinion, has made you one of the most popular YouTubers today?

If you (the audience) are able to put me in your shoes, then my job is done. That's what content should be - you should live what I've lived. If the audiences are unable to experience what the creator has made, then there will be a disconnect between the two.

If the content is relatable, then there is transparency and a bond between the audiences and the creator. There's been this conscious effort to create something that people have lived before, but may not have seen till now.

People have evolved from social media platforms like Hi5 and Orkut to Facebook and now Instagram. The evolution will continue and content creators will need to adapt accordingly.

Comedy videos on YouTube, original songs, stage shows, web series, etc. - what excites you the most and where does the biggest revenue opportunity lie?

The biggest revenue opportunity lies in relationships. You start chasing a brand, and the deal gets over. Then you start chasing the next brand, and it just keeps going on, like a cycle. I believe that building relationships is a way to go ahead.

If we speak of Hyundai, the star that comes to my mind is Shah Rukh Khan because, since my childhood days, I've seen him as the auto brand's ambassador. That's relationship. People should be able to associate a brand with you. It's where most of the money and trust lies. I don't believe in short-term deals.

Initially, we did a few, as we wanted people to watch us. But now, we've realised that every day, there will be around 100 brands coming up. What will make you different from others, is relationships, and maintaining them is harder than creating content.

From chatting with Titu Mama on Hike Messenger to being the ambassador of brands like Myntra, Mivi, Arctic Fox and Lenskart. How do you explain your journey? Going forward, what kind of brands would you like to work with?

The first brand integration that I did, was for a pocket wallet and the funny part is that they made me do a TVC for it. I was on TV for the first time, because of that brand.

The brands I'd like to work with now are the ones that I use in my life. I don't want to endorse a ghee brand because that would look very weird.

I'd love to work with, say, a shampoo brand because I have long hair. My hair's very important to me. I may miss having lunch or dinner, but won't miss washing my hair.

As I love music, I'd like to work with an earphone brand. I can't see without my glasses, so, I'd like to work with a spectacle brand. These are the brands that, once integrated with your videos, seem organic. It is not like the content creator saying something that the brand wants him to say.

You came up with for BB Ki Vines official merchandise in 2017. Earlier this year, we saw its expansion. What led you to come up with your own merchandise?

Getting the government's permission to trademark Youthiapa was a green light for me as the word ‘Youthiapa’ is an amalgamation of two words: one is ‘youth’ and the other is ‘thiapa’.

In the past, whenever I saw people wearing a Linkin Park’s T-shirt, I used to feel that it’s such a massive thing for the American band that Indians are wearing its merchandise. I was like, whenever I do something great in life, I'd want people to wear my merchandise. That was the entire idea behind it and it took us almost 4-5 years to finally come up with it.

Last, what’s the next big thing for you?

Honestly, I don’t know. We're currently writing something that is not for YouTube. It's a completely different genre. We started working on this project alongside Dhindora. I will be acting in it and it will be out next year.

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