In May, the now banned app TikTok’s review on the app store bombed from four stars to one star. The reason behind it was the 21-year-old YouTuber, Ajay Nager aka Carry Minati. His roast video, titled YouTube Vs TikTok – The End, almost became the most liked non-music video on YouTube in India in 24 hours. It was later taken down by the video sharing platform, alleging it of cyber bullying and abusive language. But Minati doesn’t agree. “I do not support any kind of cyber bullying, trolling, abuse and harassment, and I have disclaimers. I do get shocked when people react to my videos as a form of harassment, because that’s a total disrespect to my art,” says Minati.
His journey started at the age of 10, when he started posting videos on YouTube. In 2015, he came up with the moniker Carry Deol, posting videos of himself playing a video game, while mimicking actor Sunny Deol. It then became Carry Minati, as he started “roasting” people. That’s when the then 17-year-old took the biggest decision in his life. He chose not to give his class XII board exam for Economics, dropped out of school and decided to make videos for a living. “I’m glad I took the leap of faith, as no degree could have ever earned me the respect and the love I enjoy today by giving audiences an escape from commonplace monotony,” he says.
Four years and over 25 million subscribers later, it looks like he made the right decision. Not only is he the most subscribed individual creator on YouTube India, but his channel is also the most subscribed in Asia. “I don’t look at all these numbers because I know when you go up, you go down, too. It does add a lot of pressure. But I believe responsibility doesn’t need to be uninteresting and stereotyped.You can be spirited and yet make an impact! I finally feel that with the love and support of my fans the views expressed by me are given some weightage,” he shares.
But as Minati himself points out, “social media is such a volatile playground where every word can be misconstrued,” especially in the case of comedy roasts. Not only because they are often brutal and extremely personal, but also because Minati feels it is a “new concept” in India. But he believes that it will “be full blown in the next decade as sensibilities become more cosmopolitan.”
“You can’t always expect people to say nice things about you, you need to be a sport when the bad things come your way, because everyone will have an opinion that you may not like. I mean I was roasted a hundred times before I even took this profession up seriously and I took all of it in my stride,” he says.
“A lot of people might not know but I regularly get requests from various people to roast them and funnily the people I roast are not as offended and disturbed as the haters who react to the roasts,” adds Minati. Amir Siddiqui, a former Tik-Tok user, who was roasted by Minati in the now-deleted video, had considered it to be an “honour” to have been roasted by the latter.
So, Minati “takes criticism in a healthy manner” and tries to “improvise”. However, at times, it does “disturb” him, especially when the criticism “is out of context or based on assumptions”. But, he puts that frustration to good use. The anger he felt after his video was deleted made him release Yalgaar, which now holds the record for most number of likes for a video on the platform. “[After my video was deleted] I stayed confined in my room for days and bottled up the angst. When the volcano erupted inside me, Yalgaar was born,” says Minati.
Despite all the accusations, Minati doesn’t regret the decision he took four years ago. And while he admits he does miss “the regular college life and hanging out with friends on campus”, he is happy he made a “bold” decision. “If I had to continue dwelling in the past crying over bygones, I’d never be half as successful as I am today. I am happy I made a bold decision and an informed choice for myself at such a young age,” he says singing off on the note that “Some of the biggest business tycoons are school and college drop outs!”
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