Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

It is important for the creator community to keep getting fresh talent and keep getting inspired: RJ Abhinav

The 32-year-old content creator, famous for his comic videos, talks about his journey, work process, the growing creator economy, and more

Samidha Jain
Published: Nov 17, 2023 12:41:52 PM IST
Updated: Nov 17, 2023 01:53:14 PM IST

It is important for the creator community to keep getting fresh talent and keep getting inspired: RJ AbhinavRJ Abhinav has 4.2 million and 2.5 million followers on Instagram and YouTube respectively.

Abhinav Chand, who fans know as RJ Abhinav, started making funny videos much before content creation on Instagram gained popularity. The 32-year-old RJ-turned-comedy-content-creator has 4.2 million and 2.5 million followers on Instagram and YouTube respectively, and is immensely popular for his mehendi-wala videos. For his videos, Chand takes insights from everyday situations and portrays them in a very as-is fashion. Besides making reels for Instagram, Chand also manages three YouTube channels, two of which are a mix of comedy and vlogs, and one is dedicated to tech.  

Having gained popularity during the pandemic, Chand has since been invited to movie premieres, collaborated with Star Sports, and was the first comedy content creator from India to walk down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. In conversation with Forbes India, Chand talks about his journey, the growing creator economy, brand collaborations and more. Edited excerpts:  

Q. How and when did you start your journey in content creation?
I enjoy acting. While in college I did theatre and street plays and also learnt video shooting and editing skills at the same time through YouTube. Then, around 2016, I started making videos and putting them out on Facebook, after following the journey of other content creators from the US and UK who were on the rise. After college, I also joined a radio station and became an RJ, while making videos on the side. That’s how my journey started.  

Q. What is your process of creating content?  
Honestly, I'm a very impromptu guy and don’t plan my content. I have creative people in my team, and together we brainstorm on trending topics, important events, scripts etc. Once that is done, we quickly shoot and just upload it. I have three YouTube channels, one of which is on technology so I am constantly on the lookout for what we can do to generate quality content for the audience. 

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Q. How was it convincing your parents that you want to pursue content creation as a profession?
When I left my job as an RJ to pursue content creation, it was a big shock for my parents. It was a bit difficult to convince them, but I asked them to just give me six months to try this out, and they agreed. And it worked. Earlier when I had just quit the job, people would ask my parents what is it that I do, and they didn’t have an answer because I think it is difficult to define this work in a sentence. Now, since all my work is on a public platform, and is widely viewed, nobody asks questions, everybody knows what I am doing.  

Q. What are your thoughts on competition in the field?  
I think today more than ever, everybody wants to be a creator. People are coming up with creative ways to express themselves every day and are doing good work, so it is natural for competition to be there. I think competition is also very inspiring for us creators because it gives us the opportunity to get out of our comfort zones and realise that there is much more scope to do so many things and bring so many fresh perspectives to your work. Therefore, I think it's very important for the creator community to keep getting fresh talent and keep getting inspired.

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Q. Can you speak a little bit about your brand collaborations, and what is the process of choosing which brands you want to associate with?  
There are a lot of things to take care of when you are putting something out in public. For the brands I collaborate with, I always ask myself one question: Do I support what this brand is promoting? If it aligns with my beliefs, I go forward with it, if not, I don’t. What I specifically keep in mind is the fact that my primary responsibility is towards my audience and so I need to find a way to organically and creatively bring in the branded content in my videos.   

Q. The creator economy is not the most sustainable one, so how do you ensure that you keep the money coming in?  
When I started off, the creator economy was a lot different. I did my first brand collaboration on Instagram when I had 80,000 odd followers. Today, the market is more aggressive and brands collaborate with creators with lesser following as well. So it’s no more a question that you won’t survive because if you have the numbers and engagement, you will survive. I think that’s why everybody wants to enter this industry because the market has grown, there are many brands to work with, and there is fast income.  

Q. What are some of the milestones that you think you’ve achieved so far?  
I think there are a few personal milestones that I can flaunt. Getting the first million followers on Instagram and YouTube was a very big deal for me. Another milestone for me was starting my own tech channel which was very challenging for me because as a comedy creator, I found it a little difficult to switch to something serious like tech. And a major milestone was definitely the Cannes Film Festival at which I was the first comedy creator from India to walk the red carpet.

Q. Are there any anecdotes about your fans that really touched your heart?  
Recently, I was in Italy and Europe on a backpacking trip, and we were on a tight budget. We had left our place of stay and were going sightseeing when we realised that we had forgotten our water bottle, and buying water was pretty expensive there. We stopped at one shop and the shop owner was this one gentleman from Pakistan, who recognised me, praised my work, and offered us a bottle of water. I think that was very sweet and kind.  

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