Shafat MirShangus (Anantnag):
In order to catch up with the trend of earning money through comedy using new media, a group of students from Shangus area of Anantnag district have taken up online video production as their profession.
The group produces videos on trending topics as well as common issues which they later upload on their YouTube channel, Kashmiri Rounders (KR).
The creator of KR Channel, Maahi Aamir, who holds a degree of Masters in Business Administration, had intended to make videos which would carry a social message on the topics like drug addiction and other sensitive issues of the society but the group later switched to funny videos on the demand of its followers, which could make their online audience smile.
So far, nine months down the line, the idea has been a success and the videos produced by Kashmiri Rounders have been shared on Facebook and WhatsApp which are viewed over and over by the netizens, garnering this group a wide popularity in the entire valley.
A group of youth, mostly relatives and friends, known as Kashmiri Rounders, includes, Mir Umer, a 1st year student of undergraduate course while the other four members of the group, Mir Owais, Zahid Mir, Irfan Khaliq Ganai and Shahid Mir are 12th class students. Mir Khushboo is a co-writer and the only female member of the group.
Initially, Maahi Aamir, the lead videographer of the group, who is also a singer, used to shoot videos using a smart phone. Later on, seeing the potential in these youths, the brother in law of Maahi Aamir gifted a brand new DSLR to the group for producing videos. Aamir also edits the videos and prepares a script before taking up the shooting.
“My brother in law, Shareef Ahmed Tantray, gifted us a DSLR after four months into this video making. He is otherwise very strict but seeing how positively the netizens of the valley were taking us, our jeeju out of his goodwill gifted a camera, which proved very handy in video production,” says Maahi Aamir.
Now thankfully, we earn 15-20 thousand rupees per month, as per the policy of YouTube and it is going to increase with the growing number of subscribers, he adds.
None of the group members has received a formal training in video production.
The main motive of the creation of this YouTube channel was to showcase our talent, for which the internet was the cheapest and feasible medium.
“When my brother, Mir Umer, who is part of this group, performed in front of me, I thought why not to show his talent to our local audience and earn out of it too”, Maahi Aamir says.
The channel has already been subscribed by more than seventy-six thousand subscribers while the videos posted online garner views in lakhs.
Being students, Kashmiri Rounders group members spend their spare time in making videos.
“Most of us are students and we take out time in the morning, evening and even during the night to produce these videos. The positive response of the subscribers has motivated us to produce more and more videos. Once a teacher from Srinagar called us saying his younger brother, who was confined to his room for the last four years, laughed for the first time in these years after watching our videos. He was being treated for depression and an abrupt change in his condition was no less than a miracle for the family. Their entire family talked to us over the call and gave blessings. Another instance was when a youth from Pulwama called us saying he ventured out of his house after eight months, as he had witnessed the killing of a local at the hands of forces, throwing him in trauma for long. It was incidents like these which compelled us to work mostly on funny videos and keep on producing more,” says Mir Umer, who performs the lead role in the videos.
The group has recently made two videos on one of the hottest topics in the valley currently, the possible scrapping of article 35-A, which grants a special status to the citizens of this state.
A senior and prominent photojournalist of the valley, Javed Dar, who works with Chinese State-run news agency, Xinhua, while posting one of the Kashmiri Rounder’s video says, “Brilliantly portrayed by these young boys what would people here do in case 35-A is scrapped. They in a way have forewarned people of the state of coming dangers. They explain the Article 35-A so lucidly that I think no legal and intellectual have explained thus far: Do watch till the end and share.”
The best comment which the group remembers have received till date is, “You make us laugh despite such a bad situation in our region.”