YouTuber Bhuvan Bam has shot to fame by making viral sketches at his home and with his phone camera. He scripts these himself and also plays all the characters. You’d think the lockdown which we’re under wouldn’t change life too drastically for him. But Bhuvan tells us that while he’s enjoying catching up on web shows, self-isolation has impeded his ability to create content for YouTube. In an interview with Anupama Chopra he speaks about how he’s coping with social distancing, fighting misinformation on family WhatsApp groups and more.
Excerpts from the chat with Bhuvan Bam.
Out of all of us who are creating content, you are the most self-reliant. You play all the characters, you shoot holding the phone in one hand. So is this creatively a very productive time for you?
I don’t think so. That guilt is killing me from inside because I thought that if the quarantine does take place, I will be able to make the most content as I’m in the habit of staying at home and creating stuff. But that’s not happening. I’m binge-watching web series and I’m so tied up in it that the creative juices are not flowing. I always feel like I’ll write tomorrow, then tomorrow, and then tomorrow again. The laziness is eating everything up.
What are you binge-watching?
I am binge-watching Breaking Bad. I just finished all five seasons yesterday. So I started five days ago and finished a season a day. My family is quite unhappy about it because, for the last five days, I haven’t left my room.
I’m unable to get ideas related to my episodes on YouTube right now. I’m posting one-minute videos on Twitter and Instagram, but to create a concept for characters is a bit time-consuming and I don’t feel like working on it at all.
How did the video you made about how to be a hero at home come about?
I actually wanted to do that for a long, long time. The video is not just about the Coronavirus, it intends to talk about how entire families rely on WhatsApp information. They think that if it’s there on WhatsApp, it is legit. If a relative sends the news, it will be true. Why would they send something false? I can see this in my own home… my parents show me everything they’ve got on WhatsApp and I say, ‘We have Google. Look up your facts on that.’
When the Coronavirus is eating up everything around us, if you spread so much misinformation, that’s even more fatal. That’s why I thought that I should explain to people in simple Hindi what the reality actually is.
You’ve donated your YouTube earnings from March to the fight against COVID-19. How did you decide to do this?
When the lockdown was announced, I immediately donated it to the CM Fund. Then I did my bit for the Feeding India initiative because hunger is something that should be looked out for. That was a Zomato initiative. And then I did it for the PM Fund. I think everyone has to do their bit. It’s not enough to just tweet – do your bit and let things happen. I think even if you don’t want to do anything, it’s okay. And those who have done something but haven’t posted a screenshot about it, the entire public is after them asking, ‘How much did you donate? Did you donate at all? Why didn’t you donate?’ I’m so fed up of everything! There shouldn’t have to be so much transparency.
I recently spoke to Kabir Khan and he said he feels that we’ll come out of this with more empathy. Do you think that’s gonna happen?
One thing I know for sure is that once this lockdown is over, there’s gonna be so much traffic. A swarm of people will come out because everyone is waiting for that announcement declaring an end to the lockdown. Everyone’s going to be on the street and there will be chaos. I don’t know about empathy… but yeah, he [Kabir Khan] is right. Sitting at home, people have realised that if such a situation can arise, then we are living in very scary times. Our behaviour towards humans, animals, and plants should change, and I hope that it does happen.
Stay tuned for the full interview on our YouTube channel