Popular YouTuber & actress CHHAVI MITTAL talks to MUSBA HASHMI about her trending channel, her acting journey and future plans
How did your journey start?
It was by accident. I came to Mumbai to become a model but someone asked me to appear for a TV show audition which I went for and got selected. This is how I got Tumhari Disha.
How did you come up with your YouTube channel?
I came up with my YouTube channel (SIT) because I wanted to leave give up acting and do something else. My husband and I were not getting time to spend with each other and our daughter. We wanted to do something which would give us more time for her and give us satisfaction in our work lives. We were feeling stagnated in TV with playing same kind of roles, doing same acting and getting the same kind of work hours. Therefore, we decided to make content for our channel. Initially, it started on a trial basis but our first video went viral. This encouraged to continue, it has been three years now.
Are you more popular for your web series than TV?
Yes. But more than the popularity it is the kind of love and quality of appreciation I am getting which is wonderful. While I was working in TV, I got fewer people walking up to me and telling me that they really liked my work. Now, many walks up to me and tell me that I am doing a great work. It feels amazing.
How has your life changed after becoming a YouTuber?
My life has changed in many ways. First, I don’t have to worry about somebody calling me with a good role. It is the biggest thing because being a content creator I do the kind of work that I enjoy. Second, I am my own boss. I have my working hours under my control. Third, the contentment and work satisfaction is far more immense here because I am doing what I love.
How was your experience working in TV?
It was amazing. When I started working on TV, I had no idea of how to act. I have learnt acting from TV and the popularity that I have, I gained from TV. YouTube has only increased it. But I have many people who still watch my TV shows and I get messages and mails from them that they love my work. It was definitely a learning experience.
Can you share some anecdotes?
The first time I faced camera was for a telefilm which was directed by my husband. It was there where I met him for the first time. At that time, I had no idea of what a close-up or a master shot was. I was told to look at my co-actor for a close-up shot. When we went for the shot, the co-actor is usually not there for it, it’s just you who has look like you are looking at him. When I was asked to do it, I was actually searching for him in the crowd and I thought ye kaha chala gaya. I didn’t realise that I am supposed to give act like I was looking at him just for the camera. Starting from there and now creating my videos, I have come a long way.
What is your working schedule?
There was a time when I was doing three shows at the same time, I was doing Bandhini, Naaginn (2007) and I was hosting a one-hour live show. I used to do 7 O’clock shift for Bandhini and then I used to go for the live show and then I used to do night shifts for Naaginn. It was a crazy time for me and I used to sleep in my car during the short breaks that I had.
How do you balance your work and personal life?
My husband and I used to have those hectic working schedules so we were used to it. We used to cherish whatever time we got with each other. When I used to pack up early I used to visit him on his set or he used to come on my set. We used to steal some moments together. Whenever the show went off-air we had a long break and in those breaks we used to spend time together. We used to take offs from our schedule and plan trips outside Mumbai to spend some quality time together.
What is your take on shows that shut down abruptly?
I don’t think I am the right person to comment on it but I feel that when a show is created there are too many viewpoints on it. If one person’s judgment is followed, probably the show would do a little better but unfortunately, no matter how novel the concept is, it doesn’t matter because after the first week of telecast it all depends on TRPs. We should give a little more time to a show to sink in with the audience before turn the show into something else. We keep anticipating what the audience wants to see and this is a wrong point of view. A show is a creative process and there has to be creative liberties that should be taken and let the show live its life but there is so much money involved in it and at the end of the day everyone wants to make a profit out of it.
One change you would like to see in the industry?
That the scripts should be delivered on time to the actors so that they get a little time to prepare for the role and then the whole creative process will be more satisfying.
nAre you planning on some more frequent episodes for your channel and any upcoming projects?
We upload a video every Thursday at 2:30 pm. We have been doing this for the last three years and will continue uploading them every week. I am looking for films now and also we are planning to do some web-series for our channel. We are planning to launch a few other channels as well.