When Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated his 70th birthday on Thursday, he was wished by several world leaders and celebrities. However, there was a 24-year-old guy who stole the show with his bizarre yet endearing manner of honouring the leader. Self-proclaimed ‘best vlogger in India’ Anmol Bakaya was live chanting ‘Modiji..Modiji..’ for 24 hours on his YouTube channel as a gesture to appreciate the Prime Minister.
“I was just sitting with a few friends and one of them said that Modiji’s birthday is coming, so we thought of doing something special and out of the blue, someone said how about chanting ‘Modiji..Modiji..’ for 24 hours...I am an apolitical person but I respect Modiji and I think he is a great leader,” Bakaya told The Free Press Journal. However, when the vlogger and his buddies thought of this innocuous idea, they would not have even considered the brutal trolling they were to receive.
But thanks to the trolls on social media, Bakaya’s live chanting gained a lot of traction. Although stand-up comedians Tanmay Bhat and Kunal Kamra mocked the vlogger, it helped increase his viewers. Comments like “Unemployment has hit our youth really hard” and “This is proof of the growing unemployment under PM Modi’, only made more people watch Anmol’s live. “I was only chanting ‘Modiji..Modiji..’ There was nothing polarising about it. But, for many people ‘Modi’ has become a polarising word. There are many people who hate him right now. I don’t know the reason. I did not have any political agenda,” the youngster said. However, for Anmol, the day not only yielded subscribers and stories in leading websites but also memes were created on him. “The subscribers to my YouTube channel increased from 2,000 to 8,000. My followers on Instagram increased 4 times,” noted the vlogger.
Anmol rubbished Twitter users who claimed that he was having some sort of sponsorship from the ruling party. “Why would anyone pay me? I didn't even have 2,000 subscribers. There are many vloggers who have lakhs of followers, they would have approached them and not me,” he said.
Bakaya is a Kashmiri Pandit from Jammu. He did his schooling in the state and then shifted for further studies. However, contrary to the popular narrative, the vlogger said that he hasn’t faced any atrocities. “I know about the atrocities and troubles Kashmiri Pandits went through. I have family members who have gone through it. I guess..I have been lucky. I have lived most of my life outside. I don’t even know the language properly. I go there sometimes. I know the situation. It's always tense. Sometimes there is lockdown by the government due to the terrorist activities but that is mostly in the valley. Things have never been tense in Jammu,” Anmol said.
He went on to speak about moving to Mumbai and studying acting and film-making at Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods. Anmol said that he was in the ‘City of Dreams’ for five years and worked with Ila Arun and other top theatre artists. The vlogger, who was financially independent at the time, decided to leave the city as he was unhappy with the industry. “I gave a lot of auditions. I knew the nitty-gritty in the industry,” he said. Anmol added that he resonates with the #JusticeForSushant campaign and believes the industry could kill even an established person monetarily. “I really liked the actor. I feel really bad for him. He did some really good movies. I really loved ‘Kai Po Che’ and Shudh Desi Romance',” Anmol said.
When asked whether he would chant for other politicians, Bakaya categorically said, “No man!” “I got so much attention which was unexpected. If I do this again people will think I’m only a chanter. Probably, I’ll gain more followers and subscribers but I don’t want to repeat myself. I always tell myself- Don’t repeat yourself.”