Whoever said "Don’t Dream Big" hasn’t heard the story of Bhuvan’s life. Overnight fame to today’s most renounced success in the digital world; Bhuvan is a lot more than what you see on his social media
Words: Sanghamitra Mishra
Once upon a time, a little boy came upon some wisdom. He realised that it doesn’t cost a penny to have big dreams and with sheer hard work, anything is possible. So he kept moving forward and stood persistent with his dream. He didn’t let anyone tell him otherwise; his friends or family. Soon he realised, it was his greatest superpower! So he worked tirelessly to help people. He could really make a difference in the world, as long as he stayed true to himself so he started singing and large crowds gathered around to hear the sound of his voice. He started discovering more talents and travelled to a faraway kingdom called ‘Bollywood’ – a place where all dreams come true. Any dream, any wish or desire; it had a place for all.
Bhuvan Bam was that kid; enticing people with his voice and cracking silly jokes to either make his friends laugh or to say something important. Growing up, he started searching for his identity and love for the big screen; his passion and motivation to follow through his plan to succeed. Today he is living the life he dreamed of; if not in the same order of things, he is still one of the most popular guys in the world today.
Approximately two years ago, I was working at a music conference. I stood frozen in my place with hesitation and I could feel my stomach clench with nervousness as I held the microphone and stood in front of the cameraman. I was interviewing most of the celebrities that made an appearance for the event that day and some of them smiled casually while most did their best to make me awkward to my skin. Their uncomfortable stares didn’t do me any good either. Always being a storyteller and used to working behind the laptop, I felt exposed. I swear my insides were throwing me off and my face turned pale as I tried to smile and say hello to my next celebrity interview. Bhuvan walked in dressed in a dusty brown shirt and smiled as he walked to his designated spot for the interview. A big crowd of cameramen just gushed through like a raging storm with flashing lights that almost blinded the both of us. It was already so hard to interview well-known celebrities and the big crowd of viewers wasn’t making the situation any easier. Just as I was about to ask my first question he said, “Would you like a minute to calm down before we start? You look like you could use a minute”, I smiled with relief as he offered me a bottle of water. The one minute turned into a five-minute break as we spoke about countless things. We spoke like we were long lost friends and it never seemed like he was really a renounced celebrity. He has never let fame invade his personal life or ego. He has always believed in substituting each within their respective boundaries and maintaining a healthy balance between work, life, friends and family.
With 13 million subscribers on YouTube and being the winner of countless awards, this YouTube sensation is a lot more beyond his sense of humour and jokes. Bhuvan, from an early age, had a fascination for the fancy props, the big screen and the city of dreams; like most aspiring artists he wanted to be a part of the big plot. A couple of years ago, Bhuvan Bam was your typical college kid — he had a night job as a singer at a Mughlai restaurant in Delhi. Today, he is one of India’s top YouTube superstars by sheer dint of hard work and a smattering of luck.
Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” And Bhuvan’s dream has taken a leap of its own. He has been persistent and achieved beyond what he had imagined.
Bhuvan started following the footsteps of his vocation at an early age – learning, growing and experiencing what he wanted to achieve in his life. “My childhood encircled around music entirely. My mother acknowledged my liking for music and enrolled me in a Hindustani Classical school and this really bored me to death”, said Bhuvan.
He credits his childhood for the overall learning experience. His school days have played an important part in shaping his career today. That’s how he found his passion for music, cultivating stronger roots of a bright future from an early age.
Be a seeker of everyday magic
“My childhood was like anyone else’s. I had zero-to-plenty of aspirations back then; I wanted to be anything and everything. Since the early days, I always had a sense of humour that my friends always seemed to enjoy. Thus, comedy came very naturally to me and it just felt so right choosing that as a career,” says Bhuvan.
His father played an important role in instigating music in his life. His job as a technician for the Indian Airlines took him to countries like the UAE, Singapore and many more. After each work trip, his father would return home bearing gifts like cassettes and CD’s of Rajesh Khanna Classics, Manna Dey Classics and others as presents over toys for Bhuvan. “We slept to the sound of those legendary singers playing in the background while we all squeezed together in the warmth of a single room. That sound stuck with me,” reminisces Bhuvan.
There’s something so special about the old classics.
It’s so soothing and instantly takes you on a journey to those good old days, you feel like you’ve been transported back in time and there’s really no music composed evry since that can ever match up to that. It’s a constant reminder of who you are, who existed before you and the roots and traditions that are the foundation of our life today.
“Sahir Ludhianvi Sahab wrote a song ‘Main Zindagi ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya’. There’s a line: Jo mil gaya usi ko muqaddar samajh liya, jo kho gaya main usko bhulaata chala gaya’ (I walk hand in hand with life, what I got I considered as God, what is lost; I considered it gone) I try to live by that. One should accept their fate and move on with their life. We often cry about things that we never got. Life is much better when we focus on the things we do have and are capable of changing,” says Bhuvan.
"I started off focusing on my music but, one day it all changed when I posted a video online of a reporter asking some silly questions to a mother who lost her child in the Kashmir floods. I spun it in a funny way and posted it online," he says. BB ki Vines didn’t have a certain epicentre to its origin. This is pretty much how Bhuvan’s journey to fame really started and he dabbled between both music and comedy.
Bhuvan has always dreamt of waking up in the mountains, which now seems tough with his busy schedule and the hit of this pandemic. His trip to Tosh and Kheerganga has a special place in his heart. “Waking up to the freezing cold temperatures, living in camps and bathing in the ice-cold river. Overlooking the mountains at 6am is probably the most serene visual in my head. The skyline would glitter with countless stars and that seemed like a little piece of heaven”, says Bhuvan.
Bhuvan is a man of many talents, though he’s more popular because of his work in BB Ki Vines, that hasn’t stopped him from switching roles in his music career or being a humanitarian. “I think there’s a sense of responsibility when you are famous. You can, at any capacity, use that as a way to make a difference and I have not been a bystander in matters of social importance. I’ve discovered myself the most by failing. Keeping expectations and failing has taught me patience, achieving what I thought was impossible has brought out the child in me. Now I’m waiting for life to show me what peace of mind feels like.” says Bhuvan.
He used his platform to speak about what’s really happening in the world. He has been a strong believer in what’s right and optimistic about the change we as individuals can bring into the world.
Work and social media
If you thought social media was only for having fun and wasting time, think again. It has become an invaluable tool to help create online visibility and you can digitally work towards your career at zero expense. “I owe my career to social media. It was pretty new when I had started. My journey has been a roller coaster ride. The constant hustle to please the newer audience and create new content is what keeps me going. Even my family was sceptical with regards to my YouTube career. It was tough at first but gradually they understood what it meant to me and gave their support”, says Bhuvan.
“What makes you weird, makes you unique and therefore makes you stand out.”-
Evaluating your next move is simple by tracking the traffic on your posts. Always get busy and creative on social media; the longer you spend time trying to understand the demographics of digital, the better you'll perform at work. The best thing about social media is that you don’t need to spend long hours if you can work fast and efficiently.
“In my opinion, a quick boost for followers is a scam carried out by third-party mediums and futile in the long run”, says Bhuvan.
Digitisation is important for our generation, but being able to use it in a healthy way is notably paramount. Social media can be both a blessing and a curse in disguise and it completely depends on how a person uses it. You can either use it to obtain great knowledge or you may lose your sight and vision in the long run. A lot of people forget that while working towards your own social presence, being authentic is of utmost importance. “Some people know how to create a balance between reality and the virtual world. And most people have replaced the traditional meet and greet with a more digital approach. For some, it helps create a divide and make more personal space, while the rest start craving validation from their internet buddies. We literally have no money to promote our work”, says Bhuvan.
Social media is a great platform to promote one’s skills. An independent artist needs to be patient when getting on making a full-time commitment to a digital career. Be prepared to get ignored by people who’ll later celebrate your success.
“Being a musician and putting it upon the digital medium are both equally important. An artist in today’s world has to be a good marketer as well. It’s equally important to distribute your work to the masses than to just create it”, says Bhuvan.
Countless artists and freelancers are suffering due to the pandemic and this has added a lot of pessimism. Failure of consistent work, contracts and events have affected most but, things are different now in the digital era. ‘India and its culture and dying’ is a repetitive statement among indie artists but Bhuvan isn’t one to believe in it. Instead, he carries the burden of creating and working towards making this art form thrive within our world. Given that most opportunities are still rising and art as a career is something that is still a debatable conversation here in our country, it is an artist’s responsibility to keep a certain art form alive.
We’ve all been witnessing the India we’re living in today. While there’s so much good this country has, there is some bad as well. Discrimination exists around us on the basis of religion, caste and sex is a deep-rooted problem and we’re many years away from overcoming that. The world is currently going through a tough phase and hope everyone finds peace. Empathy towards the less privileged is much needed. People need to ease out with their judgements on social media. The internet is a blessing for us, but the toxicity on platforms is unimaginable. Bhuvan encourages most artists to stay strong given the dawn of tough times upon us. As you stay home during this waiting period, try to be creative and work towards something.
And a word for our readers:
It's great how this issue is amplifying the work of content creators around the world. Keep your spirits alive. Please be empathetic towards the less privileged. Stay home; stay safe and constantly strive to find peace.