On March 6, 2020, a day after 2G Internet was restored in Jammu and Kashmir after nearly seven months following abrogation of Article 370, Aatif Wani (13) came up with a timely five-minute odd video on the occasion, celebrating the new ‘status quo’- ‘Internet Zinda Hai’.
Like the Salman Khan starrer Bollywood movie it inspired its name from, the video was an instant hit among the people in the valley even as it heralded the arrival of probably the first solo YouTube performer.
The YouTube video has since garnered over two and half lakh views on the virtual platform.
Hailing from Langate area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, the somber young boy is leaving netizens in splits through his solo videos full of sarcasm and comic punches inspired by popular Indian YouTuber, Bhuvan Bam.
Bam runs his YouTube channel ‘B B Ki Vines’ wherein he depicts the life of a man and his fancy conversations through solo performances switching roles.
Although Aatif performs all the multiple roles in the videos on his own, the script, videography and editing parts are done by his cousin, Kar Shoaeb, in whose name the YouTube channel also goes. The duo has been recording the videos through a basic smartphone, Shoaeb told Greater Kashmir.
In fact it was Shoaeb who started the YouTube channel back in 2016 where he used to upload videos predicting the winner and loser of the wrestling matches and videos related to technology.
But Shoaeb said he didn’t get a good response in the genre prompting him to switch over to comic videos later.
The breakthrough came when Shoaeb noticed his cousin Aatif acting playfully while playing with his cousins and roped him in the endeavor.
“I did not know till then that Aatif was so good at acting,” Shoaeb said.
Soon, in 2018, the duo teamed up for the maiden video act featuring Aatif Wani which got an overwhelming response from the people, Shoaeb recalled.
In 2019, in the wake of Article 370 abrogation and the simultaneous blockade of the Internet for months, the duo didn’t expect to start again.
“But we were back to business in March last year after their video about the Internet restoration spread like a wildfire. We came into the limelight as the audience showed great response that motivated us to create more videos,” Shoaeb said.
The YouTube channel ‘Kar Shoaeb’ has over 63.5 thousand active followers, majority of them Kashmiris given the duo’s special focus on everyday social issues in the valley.
The Kashmiri medium of the channel has only reinforced the popularity even as Shoaeb said they will add Hindi and Urdu languages with time.
“We chose Kashmiri so that everybody connects with it, but we shall switch to Hindi and Urdu once we make a good subscriber base,” Shoaeb added.
In one of the videos Aatif depicts the typical Kashmiri mother-in-law- daughter-in-law tiffs. In the video, the daughter-in-law complains to his mother-in-law whether she was a donkey to do all the household chores, to which the latter retorts, “Comparing you with a donkey is an insult to the animal”, leaving viewers in splits.
In another video on tuition classes, the teacher Aatif asks his student what his aim in life was to which the latter replies, “Marriage”.
“No, I mean what do you want to become in life?”
“Oh no, I mean to ask you what do you want to achieve in life?”
“Bride”. The effortless answers and expression only add to the laughter level.
Yet another video is about an uncle’s visit where his nephews are prepping for demanding high-end chocolates and pastry, but end up receiving a toffee and then faint once the uncle leaves.
In his latest video, Atif is seen taking a jibe on banks, showing how a customer is made to move table to table with officials taking a nap at every level much to his frustration.
While the duo is earning good praise- both in terms of subscriber base and positive word of mouth for the content, Shoaeb said they can do even better with modern sophisticated shooting gear and props.
“People marvel over the different roles played by a single guy in the video because Aatif acts very realistically. His friends often call him ‘Kashmiri Bhuvan Bam’ for his solo acts”, Shoaeb said.
Since Aatif is still in school, he usually makes the videos during spare time and it doesn’t take him much time as he has improved his acting skills with time,” he added.
Shoaeb said he has deliberately not revealed his face before the audience yet “because I don’t want to be the spoilsport for Aatif. I want him to be the face of the channel”, he added.
As for the main protagonist Aatif, he said he was doing the video acts only part-time to improve his acting skills.
“I want to hone my skills in acting as I have a dream to join Bollywood in future,” quipped Atif.