CHENNAI: Only when there are avenues that tap our inner talent can one meet their creative warrior. Following the Dubsmash craze, Musical.ly (musically), another app, has been trending across the globe, with over 200 million registered users. The app which lets its users record, create and share, short and innovative lip-sync videos. It began as a platform to ‘kill time’ for many but has today found a strong hold in Chennai — thanks to ‘celebrity musers’ who have created a pop-culture of sorts, by making their musically videos public. The city witnessed its first ‘musically meet and greet’ session recently, and we catch up with some of the city’s popular musers to know more about the stardom after musically.
Vithun Ravindhran, a photographer who spearheaded the session, has been a popular muser since 2016. “When I started using the app, I didn’t know that there was so much I could learn from. There were things like transition, voice dub, acting and even dancing that I could learn!” says Vithun who has over 9,000 followers.But sharing the 1,000-plus videos didn’t come easy for Vithun and, he confesses he had several inhibitions. “I thought people would say that I am overacting or was wasting time doing such videos. But, when I posted my first set of videos, I received a huge response — it was a series of Vadivelu comedy tracks from the film Bhagavathi,” he recalls. “It has taught me to interact with people and many times, it has been the perfect ‘anti-depressant’. It can lighten up the mood and make us creative.”
From creating videos with props, costumes and backgrounds that strikingly resemble a specific scene/music video/vine to delivering a ‘clean musical.ly’ with nothing but impeccable timing and expressions, these musers do it all. One such person who climbed the ladder of fame with her videos is Pragathi Joy, a Class 12 student. Known for her flawless impression of comedian Vadivelu, Pragathi is among the top musers in the city with about 80,000 followers. “My first video on musically was Ain’t your mama by Jennifer Lopez. But, gradually I started doing other videos,” she shares.
But the fame certainly does put her under a lot of pressure. “It’s sometimes hard to live up to viewers’ expectations, as they want a video every now and then. But, other than that I love doing what I do! Being in school sometimes makes it hard to handle the attention. Thankfully, I have enormous support from my school too. So, that makes it easier,” shares Pragathi whose famous Va da nee Va da video has garnered over one million views. “Out of all the Tamil comedians Vadivelu is my favourite. His style is unique and that influenced me to try his comedy tracks. And it worked! People say that I do a great impression of him and that’s why I started doing more of his videos,” she grins.
Fast time-lapse, slow-motion and duets are the most trending musically features and these musers have mastered it all. “It took time for all of us to master it. It takes a few takes, sometimes even up to 10, to get the best output. I get dressed exactly like the hero/heroine in the particular track, and use the props I have at home to deliver a video close to the original. But, there are three things that make one a good muser — expressions, choice of tracks and creativity,” explains Madhavi B, another city-based muser-cum-IT employee.
The musically videos have also opened up opportunities for these musers in films, short films and ads. In a time when a light-hearted feud between ‘TN girls and Kerala girls’ over the song Jimmiki Kammal was brewing on social media, a young Rahul Mohan who goes by the user name ‘rahulyoungtobe’ on musical.ly, posted his musically version of the song and caught the eyes (and several hearts) of Chennai peeps. “I am very happy that my version of Jimmiki Kammal is still getting good response especially from youngsters. I enjoyed making it but, did not do it with the intention of getting more views or becoming popular. But after watching my videos, I am now getting invited to have discussions on movie projects from directors and producers in the film industry, I am overwhelmed,” he shares.
So, is there a success formula? “Not really”, say musers. “Never lose patience even when you fail to get a good video. Never do it for the sake of getting popular, but enjoy and have passion. It will show in the video,” he adds.