Social media is cluttered with digital content creators — be it food videos, amateur comedy, beauty hacks, fashion tutorials or DIY manuals — almost everyone has something to offer. And yet, only a handful of voices closer to home bring us content we can truly relate to. Jhilam Gupta is definitely one of the few.
The digital creator’s videos and shorts, spotlight elements that are key parts of a middle-class Bengali existence, be it local train commutes, Bengali TV serials, a typical biye bari, passengers on Kolkata buses, Saraswati Puja and more.
Jhilam started her journey just a year and a half ago and has already amassed 447,000 followers on Facebook, which is a dream for creators who’ve been making content for years.
Going the extra mile
“I never planned to do this. In fact, nothing in my life goes according to plan. However, I do feel that I am not meant for a regular office job. I have switched from one job to another, but I have never been able to stick to them. One of my ex-colleagues suggested that I make videos. I was not sure about what to make or share. The first video I ever made was about how mathematics makes our lives miserable. It managed to rake up two lakh views in just a day! I didn’t even have a page then. My page was developed much later,” she tells us.
Jhilam started making videos regularly during the first half of the lockdown, a period that saw a steady rise in consumption of homegrown video and audio content. The sketches started going viral and that helped her identify the strengths in her content strategy.
Be it her video about the ladies’ compartment or sweltering summer days in Kolkata, local viewers can immediately connect to every sentiment echoed in her videos. Her sarcasm, comic timing and hilarious quips are just an added bonus.
Surprisingly, Jhilam has also acquired quite a number of non-Bengali speaking fans, though her videos are mostly in Bengali.
“I want to make people laugh. Language is a mode of communication, certainly not a barrier,” she tells us.
Turning the tide
Of course, being one of the most prominent local content creators is no cakewalk. Jhilam was lucky enough to be a part of Sourav Ganguly’s popular game show Dadgiri Unlimited, where she also got to meet Janhvi Kapoor. The episode, which also featured other video creators from Bengal, faced some controversy when some YouTubers slammed it for not representing all regions of Bengal. But Jhilam chose to focus on the high points of her life and not the chaotic negativity content producers are often subjected to.
Moreover, meeting Dada was momentous, she tells us. “I was awestruck!” she exclaims. The creator has found fandom in Tollywood as well and has worked with some A-listers and often posts videos with them.
She stunned her fans recently when she posted a video of Arpita Chatterjee kissing her on the cheeks. “Well, Arpita does not kiss everyone!! I don’t think she has ever kissed an interviewer before. Hopefully, I am the last!” she laughs.