My videos were first noticed in Pakistan: Indian comedian Gaurav Gera

Comedian Gaurav Gera talks Pakistani ancestry, how he ventured into online content

Muhammad Asad Ullah June 26, 2016
Gera’s ‘Chutki and the Shopkeeper’ videos became viral on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Up until he stumbled upon the handbook of creating viral internet content, Gaurav Gera was a small-time actor and comedian who tried his luck with both Indian television and cinema. However, things changed with the coming to life of his characters, ‘Chutki and the Shopkeeper’.

In Pakistan, he became popular when he incorporated Ayesha Sana’s Bright Karein Isey, Taher Shah’s Eye to Eye and Qandeel Baloch’s shenanigans into his viral videos.

“If there was no internet, I would not have known them. After looking at their Instagram accounts, I thought they are pretty ‘kewl’ people,” he tells The Express Tribune.
Gaurav 'shopkeeper' Gera is a big fan of Hina Dilpazeer

Gera’s screen appearances may not have interested Pakistani fans, his Facebook content surely has given Pakistani internet sensations a run for their money. “When I first started with the video thing, I was first noticed in Pakistan and that means a lot.” Today, he is more than grateful for all the love and support extended to him from across the border. “Everything worked like magic. Thank you so much for everything,” he adds.

His attachment to Pakistan also traces back to his paternal roots. “My dad is a Multani. He got here after partition. I really want to come over one day. My father wants me to see all the places where he lived and spent his early years,” he says. Once he is in Pakistan, Gera will surely consider options of making inroads in Pakistani cinema. In the past he was offered to work on a Pakistani TV show, which he had to turn down. “I need to be on the road all the time so I couldn’t really give it the time it required.”

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Singing praises for Pakistani actors who are making their mark in Bollywood, Gera also mentions actor Hina Dilpazir of Bulbulay fame. “I love Hina Dilpazir because of her superb versatility. Someone recently suggested her show to me and then I couldn’t stop watching it,” he says, adding that he also loves her character from Qudusi Sahab Ki Bewa. “It’s so original,” he quickly adds.

The idea of making internet content has more to do with his philosophy as a performer and less with his career trajectory. “I realised that only being an actor is not enough for me. Going for shoots, sitting on sets, talking about how much money you made and which car you bought … all that is too superficial for me,” he shares.

Gera wanted to do much more than that hence he started making Facebook videos.

“I really thought my patience was dying down. Since I am an internet fanatic, I don’t watch long content. I don’t watch television and neither do I watch films; they’re too long to hold my attention,” he states. “So I realised there must be many more people like me and that is how I ended up making videos.”

Having recently introduced another character, Billi Maasi, using a Snapchat filter, Gera wants to keep things simple, cutting the troubles of make-up artists, cameramen, directors, writers and actors.

“The idea behind my videos is to cut down on the fuss. As Chutki, I don’t do make-up. Chutki is only lipstick and a wig, which is like a cap. Even for the clothes, what I wear is a vest. I tie the knot on the back and it turns out as a top. I have no girl clothes. My focus is only the content and the face,” he explains.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2016.

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