Meet the Real Life ‘Secret Superstars’ of YouTube in India

Heard of the phrase ‘larger than life’? It’s used to describe something that is well removed from reality, something that only happens in the movies.

But, there are times when ‘larger than life’ things happen to real people. Take Amir Khan’s latest Diwali offer, ‘Secret Superstar’, for example. It tells the story of 15-year-old Insiya who rose to fame after her Burkha-clad, anonymously uploaded video on YouTube went viral.

Like the movie’s protagonist, there are several stars in the virtual world who have walked uncharted territories to be where they are today. Here are a few real-life superstars of the web.

Yaman Agarwal: Cooking Shooking

Subscribers: 612K

We have all looked up easy to cook recipes on YouTube. At 14, Yaman Agarwal from Hyderabad knew he wanted to be the one you searched for when looking for egg-less recipes.

The fact that he loved cooking, helped his mother in the kitchen, and dreamt of creating his own recipes one day, was a secret he kept from his friends, lest they teased him. After all, cooking is a ‘girly’ activity. It wasn’t easy getting over that fear of judgement for Yaman.

However, he took the leap of faith with a simple sweet corn recipe in 2012. Fast forward to 2017, each of his videos gets almost 3 million views.

Sejal Kumar: Sejal Kumar

Subscribers: 385 k

Sejal Kumar is a household name in the digital video and fashion vlogging space. An economics major from Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce, Kumar’s YouTube channel is more like a start-up than a hobby. And starting a start-up is no joke.

Sejal Kumar, fashion vloggerI graduated with economics as a major, but never felt it was my cup of tea. By the time we needed to sit for college placements, I was already making money from my YouTube channel. So, I decided not to apply for jobs and go full-time with it. 

It’s interesting to note that most of her videos are shot by her parents.

Sonali Bhadauria : Live To Dance

Subscribers: 512 K

What does it take a software engineer working in Infosys to go an indefinite leave from work and chase her passion for dance? Eleven million views on YouTube and a ticket to Ed Sheeran’s concert.

Shonali Bhaduria’s story is nothing short of a Disney movie script.

Part of the tech company’s internal dance team, Shonali shot to fame with a cover dance video of Ed Sheeran’s viral song, ‘Shape of You’. And, she learnt dancing by watching TV and YouTube tutorials.

Shonali even trains other young dance aspirants. She says she has no plans whatsoever to go back to being an engineer again.

Sadak Chhap

Subscribers: 106 k

An aspiring actor, a banker, and a doctor. That is what the three makers of Sadak Chhap – Ankur, Shubham and Ashish – were destined to continue being if YouTube hadn’t happened.

Popular faces in the YouTube comedy circle, Ankur and Shubham are relatively new to the milllion-plus subscribers club. However, the channel is only a month old. The comedy duo, along with their off-screen partner Ashish McCune, have been chasing their content creation dream.

Ashish McCune of Sadak ChhapMy parents wanted me to pursue MBBS, while I wanted to enter a creative field. Hailing from an academic background, they did not think highly of my desire to enter showbiz. They even filled up the MBBS college form for me. So one night, I sneaked out, boarded a train and left home forever. But life wast easy. Gigs were erratic and the pay was low. There have been months when I have had to live in my car.

Currently Ashish handles post-production work for the channel, while juggling a day job at a media publishing house.

Ankur, comedianAfter our initial few videos went viral in 2015, we were overwhelmed by the recognition we got. Today, people ask for selfies with us in metros and trains. We have reached a point when we can be confident of launching our very own hour-long live show.Rishab Rana: RishhSome

Subscribers: 370 K

Rishabh Rana was one of the early birds on YouTube. He started off by uploading videos of himself doing football tricks. He was 14 then.

His rise to fame on YouTube was routed via SnapChat and Instagram, until he had enough fan base to consider making minute-long videos.

Rishabh RanaCompared to our foreign counterparts, YouTubers in India lack the respect they deserve. But we are getting there. 

There are several other millennials in the country who have found their true calling through YouTube, and fought hard for their choices against all odds.

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