An aspiring filmmaker and actor, singer, Youtuber, photographer and blogger, Vishal Langthasa juggles many different roles. This young talent has become quite an emerging star on YouTube with his channel named ‘Chugli TV’ earning over one million views overall. With over 16,000 subscribers, the Haflong native based in Mumbai has managed to entertain viewers with jocular and light-hearted puns on issues that hit close to home.
The Video Roll
His ‘Dimasa vs Naga’ video has earned the most streams with 159K views (and counting) followed by ‘Why do we not watch Assamese films?’ which was a collaboration with the film ‘Duronir Nirola Poja’.
Vishal started his channel when he was studying at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. It all started due to multiple reasons, one major reason being his desire to practice writing scripts which he claims remains the toughest part of the process. He posted his first video ‘5 Types of Intellectuals’ in April 2015. Around that time, his viewers only comprised of a few people from college and a few others from back home. It was only after he uploaded a video in February, 2017 titled ‘Struggles of Being a Dimasa’ that he started to grab the attention and support of more viewers back home.
For his ‘Dimasa Vs. Naga’ video he was joined by fellow artiste Bendang Walling, an NSD graduate. He had met Bendang at Dharamshala International Film Festival in 2016. When Bendang visited Mumbai, Vishal worked on a script overnight. He believes what led to the making of the video was the strategic effort to have Bendang in it and to capture the audience in Nagaland. ‘Bendang was the central entity and everything else was designed to suit his eternal existence… His humility is just heartbreakingly sweet,’ shares Vishal. This video also made him realize in what way and to what extent Nagas support their youth and their artistes.
Home and Away
Vishal has a very special place in his heart for Assam, especially Haflong and Jorhat, where he studied for four years at the Assam Agricultural University. Many characters featured in his videos were actually inspired from his experiences in Jorhat. Currently based in Mumbai, he states that he has learned to value the simpler things in life from cooking vegetables available in his own backyard to anticipating summer vacations. For him, Mumbai is a city that takes one on an unforgettable ride. ‘The most exhilarating feeling that I felt when I first set foot into this city was this intense feeling of freedom.’
Inspired by old British sitcoms such as Mind Your Language, Absolutely Fabulous and Keeping Up Appearances, Vishal believes that there is so much one can do with situations and dialogues. Other YouTubers have also inspired Vishal. ‘Lilly Singh! I think she was the first YouTuber I started following religiously, and still follow today (Please don’t tell anyone that I have a IISuperwomanII shrine in my room). I think in my first few videos, I tried imitating her subconsciously.’
Rising Above Criticism
For Vishal, the feeling of owning a digital property that one has nurtured for years motivates him to keep making videos. It’s the feeling of ownership, the freedom to experiment, the mistakes one is allowed to make which keeps him on his toes and at the same time motivates him.
As a YouTuber, he believes that one should learn to accept criticism. ‘I have been criticized for making fun of Dimasa artists. I have been criticized for criticizing Dimasa customs. I have been criticized for stereotyping Northeastern people. I have been criticized for poking fun at Assamese culture, which is alright, because all people have views. I personally don’t go explaining myself to them and have not caused that great a controversy yet, to be honest. But people can be harsh, I get a lot of homophobic hate comments as well. However, at the end of the day, I don’t react to hate comments, because more often than not, it’s just somebody merely venting out their frustration.’
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By Deirdre Basumatary