Gone are the days when social media was meant for entertainment only. Now, this platform is not only giving youngsters a chance to showcase their talent but is also helping them make money. MUSBA HASHMI chats up some young and enthusiastic TikTok performers who are making it big
‘I don’t focus on competition’
Born in a small town of Rupnagar in Punjab, Manav Chhabra never knew that his videos would take him to heights. It was curiosity that made the 23-year-old make videos on TikTok, then called Musically. Four years down the line and there’s no looking back.
“I am a law student and becoming a social media star was never what I ever dreamt of. I never thought that my videos could create such a buzz,” Chhabra says who has over one million followers on Instagram.
If you have not been following Chhabra before and now are ready to find the charming prince on social media, it won’t be too easy for you. The reason being that Chhabra goes by the name of Mr MNV on his social media handles.
“There are no secrets behind this name. When I was in Class X, I randomly made my Instagram account with this name and fortunately some of my videos went viral back then. Then, when I started using TikTok, I decided to go with the same name. After sometime, I asked my team if I can change it and they suggested to go with this one only as people resonate with it and it has already become a brand. That’s how it all started,” he tells you.
The quantity of followers is not what Chhabra is after, instead it is the love and affection that he seeks from them. “We all know that criticism and trolling is a part and parcel of social media, but I have been fortunate enough to have got supportive followers, who appreciate my work. I have received very few criticism in all these years,” Chhabra tells you who started making videos in 2015.
The app not only gained Chhabra the overwhelming fame, but also gave a platform to stand on his feet. “I have completed my graduation and just shifted to Mumbai a couple of months before. Now, I don’t have to ask for money from my parents any more. I can stand on my feet and earn through showcasing my talent. And not just me there are many others who have got a platform through these apps and are using it for all the right purposes. It was the need of the hour for the youth,” he says.
But not all that glitters is gold. There are some cons of being in the limelight too. “Sometimes you receive a lot of hatred and criticism too, but as I mentioned earlier I have been fortunate enough to have received less amount of criticism,” he tells you.
But with increased opportunites come great competition. There are million others who are making one or the other videos on social media but one have to have something different to shine among all.
“I don’t consider any particular creator as a competition for me. Yes, the competition is high, but I don’t focus on it much. All I do is to make sure that what I am creating is original and is as per the audience’s choice. Because at the end audience is the king,” he opines.
Making videos is not as easy at it seems to be. It requires proper ideation and technique.
“There is a long process behind these videos. All people get to see is the end-product but there’s much more that goes behind in it’s making. First, I come up with ideas. There are two types of videos that work on the social media — humorous or emotional. Either of the element should be there in the video otherwise the video will not work well. Also I try to give a twist or add a punch at the end of the video to give a ‘wow’ element in it and to make it stand out of the clutter. Second, I decide the place to shoot. Third, after shooting it goes into the post-production stage where we edit the video,” Chhabra tells you who prefers shooting videos on his mobile.
He believes that in order to produce good work, the environment has to be very light. “I prefer working in an environment where you don’t have to only work-work. We laugh and have so much fun behind the scenes that it doesn’t feel like working at all, instead it is more of a recreational activity for us. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t concentrate on it, we work with full focus,” he says.
No doubt that Chhabra has mostly women fans, not only because of his looks but also because his charming voice. “Yes, I had many female followers, but it is now changing,” he says with a blush.
A piece of advice for those who have just started making videos and or the ones who are willing to give it a try.
“Always be your own critic. Compare all your videos and see what worked for you and what not. Change and modify the content accordingly. Try to make quality videos, don’t run after quantity. For those, who are new in the field, they have to be prepared for putting in some extra efforts as there is a whole lot of people making videos and you have to have some extra spark,” he tells you.
Teen Tigada works
One may be familiar with the adage: Teen tigada kaam bigada. But, the lovable trio of TikTok — Sameeksha Sud, Vishal Pandey and Bhavin Bhanushali, known by the name of Teen Tigada on socialmedia, have definitely made their mind up to prove the proverb wrong by hook or by crook.
Always dressed in vibrant colours, the cute and bubbly Sud charms everyone with her elegant smile while the handsome boys impress everyone with their classy dance moves. Often the trio is seen lip syncing songs and grooving on tunes in their videos that earn them millions of views and not to mention the collosal amount of fame with it.
Sud is not only a TikTok star, but an actor too. She played Asha Singh in Zee TV’s Doli Armaanon Ki, and also appeared in Gumrah Season 3 and Fear Factor: Darr Ki Sacchi Tasvirein. And it goes unsaid that she is a master of emotions. Be it doing comedy or merely giving random expressions, she can do it all. However, like many others Sud too didn’t think of making it big on the app and taking it as a full time profession initially.
“It has been more than three years now since I am using TikTok. It all started with me making videos in my free time during the shoots. I used to have a lot of free time and thought of utilising it creatively and TikTok was in trend, that’s how I came across the app. After sometime, the show that I was shooting for got over and I realised that people were loving my videos. So I thought of taking it up full-time. Now we have a YouTube channel too where we post our videos regularly,” she tells you.
The idea of coming up with a group came as an inspiration to Sud by watching Awez Darbar and team on the same app. “We took inspiration from Awez and his team for this idea. Also, team work is what that works well on the app. So the three of us decided to make a team as we all live close to each other’s houses. That’s how the Teen Tigada group came into being. Gradually people started liking seeing the three of us together. The videos earned us much love and appreciation. Since then there’s no looking back,” she tells you.
Now that the trio is making a statement on social media, all of them make sure that they make videos together. “We make sure that we are making at least some of our videos together if not all because this has become our USP and we have to make time for this,” she says and gives a hint that there is much more in store for the group as they will be coming up with different projects soon.
Sud has a success mantra to share. “When you start making the type of videos which are in trend but with a twist or a different element in it, that’s how the videos get viral. You have to follow the trend but at the same time stand out of the clutter,” she tells you.
She tells you that she don’t have any favourite video of her because all the videos require same amount of effort and it becomes hard to do the differentiation and pick one. “In every video, my team and I have put in the same amount of effort. We work hard to get the desired results and this makes it difficult for me to name one as favourite,” Sud says.
The dark side of being a social media influencer is that you have to be responsible of the stuff that you are uploading on social media. There is no room for mistakes. “Before uploading any video, I thoroughly check my videos for at least 15-16 times so that nothing that I am putting forth hurt the sentiments of others. I also ask my mother to go through all my videos before I upload them in case if I have missed on something. One has to have a bird’s eye view on all the content. More so, if you are a girl,” she says.
What Sud is looking at in future, only time will tell. But keeping in mind the trio’s chemistry, watching them on the small screen or for that matter on some digital platform will definitely make for an interesting watch. The growing rise of social media only adds to the possibility of for the teen tigada.
Sweet, young and happening
At a young age of 17, when most of the teenagers are busy dreaming of doing something big when they grow up, a sweet and bubbly Bangalore-based TikTok creator Salonee Singh was already making those dreams come true.
Singh always wanted to become an actor, but since she was good in studies, like every parent, they too wanted her to take the conventional career route, which obviously didn’t sit too well with her.
It was in February this year when Singh took to TikTok to do a reality check. “I used to make videos to analyse my expressions and skills and always kept them in private mode. One fine day, I showed them to my friends who suggested that I should post them on the app, this way I’ll get a better idea of my skills. I started posting videos and all of a sudden my video where I am lip syncing Zakir Khan’s dialogues got viral. It earned 10,000 views in very less time and I was on cloud nine,” she tells you.
Singh’s talent went unnoticed by her parents who had no clue of what she was up to. “One of my relative showed my videos to my father and it was only then that he came to know that I have been making these videos for quite some time now. He was left spellbound and was convinced that I am made for acting and asked me to continue doing this and that I have his support in this. His words motivated me and I decided to make full use of the talent that I have in me,” Singh tells you.
Getting famous on social media and earning is not a piece of cake. It comes with its share of challenges. “It’s not as if one can get famous and start earning instantly. It takes time. I started earning after I crossed a million followers on the app while my brother started earning with not even 100k followers in his kitty. So it all depends on the quality of videos that you are making and then accordingly you get offers for collaborations and ads to work in. But with all this comes a lot of pressure that you can’t get rid of anytime soon,” she says and tells you that she is in Class XII and have her Boards due next year but she hasn’t gotdown to studying yet.
“I have been travelling a lot these days to shoot my videos. I have just returned from Chandigarh after spending almost a week there, I also went to Bihar last month for the same. This leaves no time to study but since this is what I love doing I have to manage it all,” she says with confidence.
With a smile worth dying for, Singh’s videos are a perfect blend of humour and cuteness. And that’s what has been helpful in making her famous in less than a year. “I don’t do any preparations for my videos. Whatever I am doing in the videos, is just real me. Those who know me, they are well aware that this is how I am in real life too,” she says and tells you that she sees no one as a competition on the app.
“I believe in making videos that have good content, that’s it,” she says.