Real to Reel: Perseverance of Indian Content Creators Against All Odds

‘What now?’

Perhaps the most daunting question that knocks when you’re snatched the right to pursue your passion is this. What now? Where do we go from here? Is it even worth trying all over again?

When India banned the global short-video creation app along with its 58 Chinese counterparts, joyous celebrations became omnipresent across all social media platforms. From the guy next door to our revered Bollywood stars, everybody coughed up their affirmations for this ban on ‘cringe’. 

Everybody, except a few who were confronted with the question of ‘what now?’

Behind the label of ‘cringe’ the Indian creators were conveniently tagged with, lay their bottomless passion and a unique journey. A bumpy ride towards finding their calling, and the epic pursuit that follows. A  never-done-before feat that would inspire thousands of Indians to create and forge their own way. A cathartic sail to find a voice they’ve always been bereft of and do what truly floats their boAt. 



Our recent Kartik Aaryan x Content Creators film is a testament to today’s new-age creators and their undying spirit to seize what they want. A celebration of the irreverent and the go-getters who’re not afraid to walk the untrodden road in their journey to self discovery — from fashionistas to fitness freaks and dancers to voices of dissent.


It’s no secret that most Indian creators from this niche hailed from semi-urban and rural India where they never had the means to channel their talent and creativity. So, when they finally had access to a medium to exercise their expression and put it out for the world to see, they grabbed it with both hands. They felt empowered to finally tell their story right and be themselves, unapologetically.



But seeping into a gatekept world of content creation and smashing antique aesthetic notions was not all they were ready to stop at. Their passion was boiling and they were hungry for more. They wanted the entire world to acknowledge their worth. And to be seen. They demanded space. Not just to exist but prosper. And it all happened. The world had to oblige with their courage and unstoppable desire.

“Four Indian creators amongst the top 15 highest paid TikTokers of 2020.”


A car cleaner turned dancer, a newspaper-seller turned singer, an actor who used to tend to cattle, comedians, magicians, photographers, hip-hopers. For Indian creators, making these bite-sized videos was no more just a segway to global reach and fame. It became a unifying force for them to overcome all societal barriers and unleash their creative expression.


After the ban, an entire section of Indian youth felt robbed, it seemed. Not from fame though, nope — but from expression. And the world promptly clapped at the fall of their favourite ‘cringe’ stars. Most creators were initially in denial and expected the app to return to light within a couple of weeks. Some had left their jobs to create content and some were the only bread-earners for their families. To some, it looked like they had nothing left. And to some — nothing to lose. They knew that now, it only made sense to do what they loved — what floats their boAt.



Like a community, lots of Indian creators marched to newer platforms to start again. Except with more purpose. So what if they had to start afresh? This time, they saw their talent and believed in it. And they were ready to hustle their way back to glory.

December 29, 2021

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