PURANI DILI TALKIES or PDT, a famous Socio-Comic YouTube Channel with an increasing number of followers and admirers is owned by its proud co-founders, Nijo Johnson and Rohit Gaba.
We sat down with these two talented and bright minds to get an insight of their success story and anyone who aims to be like them, should not miss what they have to say. As we know, it’s best to learn from the learned. Here is a brief from the interview.
Before PDT (Purani Dili Talkies) began, they were just a production house making corporate videos and short films for PVR etc. It was two years ago that a YouTube Channel named ‘Purani Dili Talkies’ actually started and their very first video was released which directly hit three million views. “It all began as a fluke,” said Rohit. When Nijo, who now also scripts content for the channel, came up with a script in the middle of a night which revolved around the unconventional idea of women being open about ‘farts’. It was created without a second thought. ‘What The Fart’ entered the media space with a bang. PDT has never looked back since then. This was the cue for Nijo and Rohit to start living their dream and they created three videos back to back, all of which were hugely successful.
Nijo Johnson says that the most important thing for any art form is to find its audience and online portals are doing exactly the same by helping Purani Dili Talkies to connect to its people. New talent finds its own space easily without any backing from bigger brands and names. To this Rohit added that it is needful to dream every day and work towards achieving it, that’s the only way one can live his or her dreams.
“For any video or short film,” says Rohit, “script and storyline are the special ingredients. Everything else is secondary.” Also, the makers should have an understanding of what people want to see or share. Research is the key. We can always create contents that are larger than life but what makes it stand out is its shareable quotient. People will always share what they like. “Create a piece which you yourself will want to share,” adds Nijo.
A lot of channels use adult content as their primary genre and the game helps them to gain TRPs, whereas PDT chooses a social message behind every short film. So, on being asked about the selection of the genre, Nijo and Rohit said that if one is too bothered about numbers then it’s better to create baby and animal videos. The current average viewership of PDT is above one million as of now, and they are on a building phase so the search for viewership might decrease in the future and they can focus more on relevant topics. To this, Rohit added that it is important to involve comedy if you want to send across a social message to a larger chunk of the audience.
For anything to survive in the ocean of social media the benchmark is the level to which it goes viral. When asked about the secret to it, Nijo says that a content finds its own track. Their film named ‘Proud Rapist’ gained three million views on the channel of PDT, whereas on somebody else’s channel it found eight million views which prove that one cannot aim at achieving any specific number of viewers. Every content has its own journey which comes with a dwindling number of challenges.
Rohit and Nijo also share how it has become easier to go viral now because the online digital space has expanded a lot and they also consider themselves very lucky to have entered earlier as this space has bombarded like anything.
“PDT is not a funded company. The creation of content involves investment irrespective of what you’ll get out of it. The model of recovering money or earning a profit doesn’t really work in the initial stages. It is the sheer love of creating and that is the most important challenge when we are not trying to make money out of it. We work on corporate videos and take that money to grow the channel. It’s not a money making machine where you’ll recover the ten thousand rupees you invested. You don’t know whether you’ll make money or not. It’s like a well, if it builds up then it’s there… if doesn’t then the money is gone. So monetarily it’s difficult to sustain such channels. It is crucial to make a money cycle out of it, from investing to managing the salaries of the teammates involved. There are companies that create ten videos daily, aiming at attaining numbers but they have a different aim and perspective.”
Rohit added, “Mind is the challenge since we tend to get attached. If it doesn’t work you got to make it work, that is the challenge. To make the next video better… Pushing each other… Mental and physical labour… Taking care of everyone…”
One feels the urge to give up when the person is in a bad zone. Last year it became difficult to take PDT any further but they had to motivate everyone and got back on the track. It was then that ‘Saini Sahib’ and ‘Changing Room’ released and struck eleven million views.
Nijo comes from the travel industry and Rohit has assisted a few directors in the past but he got bored. Both of them always wanted to start their own thing. With big names having entered the market, like Yashraj, Viacom etc, getting the spotlight was easy but now is difficult to sustain. So, here originality is the key. Your audience will demand and keep coming back to you for what you give them. Some channels might create a 30 seconder and still get their audiences if it’s unique. Rohit says, “One should always at least try.” And one big speed breaker is the fear of failure. Nijo says that even when uploading a picture we might want to be better than the present scenario, but we should go out and try things. They state an example from their past when PDT wasn’t this huge – “People didn’t want to associate with the channel when ‘What The Fart’ was released because the content didn’t seem usual and shareable to them. But when it got viral the same companies wanted to connect and work together.” So, it is mandatory that we conquer that fear.
And then the only challenge is to get channel associates which was a lucky sphere for PDT because the big channels had already done the deed of merging commerce with such kind of videos. Now the entertainment channels like PDT get contacted smoothly. Collaboration works for both the parties. If the content is suitable for a brand, they will sponsor. But it’s primary to build first because words do not suffice. Rohit says, “Telling them you have potential and talent, no one will invest in you. We got our first query after making around twenty videos.” “Keep the mechanism working,” adds Nijo.
On being asked where do they see themselves in the two years, they replied mirthfully that they were in a very happy space. Most of the media people come in this industry for recognition and money, which is normal. “Fame we are getting and we will get as long as we are focused. Money comes and goes. The kind of appreciation we are getting that requires hard work and brainstorming. Where we are heading we don’t know, but after two years also we’ll be making short films, we are going nowhere. The most fulfilling thing is this is free media and we are not answerable to anyone, we’re not being controlled and have the freedom to explore fully.” said Nijo.
They had an extremely inspiring view on spreading one vision across their team. PDT goes by hierarchy because experience counts. One who has spent more time in that industry will certainly have a better say on the execution of any project. On the other hand, they never fail to consider the ideas of junior teammates because it’s a creative domain and nothing can be rendered right or wrong. Rohit and Nijo give a complete playground to the team to polish the raw ideas and create experimental content for the other independent channels run by PDT leaders – one of the ways they motivate their team.
When asked about one thing they want to be famous for, Rohit says that his forte is direction, always will be but after trying his hands on acting he started liking it and doesn’t want to let go of the fame he is getting which will only increase in the future. Even Nijo says that direction is ‘The love’ for him as a person and he’d always chose it on top of everything including writing.
We have slogged a lot. One important suggestion for all the budding filmmakers out there – don’t be dependent on anyone because they might be having a lot of problems themselves. It’s imperative to build your own but however, small it is, else no one is interested in investing in you.