With his energetic comic expressions, slapstick humour, and funny yet fluent Hindi commentary, Indian YouTube sensation Ajey Nagar has amassed more than 28 million subscribers on his channel, CarryMinati.
Although CarryMinati is the most-subscribed YouTube channel in India, Nagar, 21, says he is more focused on creating entertaining content than attracting likes or subscribers.
“If we focus entirely on numbers, we’d be happy when the numbers are higher and unhappy when they are lower. So I mostly focus on what I want to do and on creating entertaining content for my channel. If the content is good, the numbers would automatically follow,” he says.
Born and based in Faridabad, a satellite city of New Delhi, Nagar has made side-splitting videos on a range of topics, all in Hindi, with titles such as The Awesome Place We Call School, Marry Your Dream Partner and These Superstitions Will Make You Rich. He also produces rap music videos and diss tracks taking on what he calls “cringeworthy” user-generated videos on platforms including Facebook and TikTok.
However, he is most popular for his roast videos that target Indian social media stars and celebrities such as Salman Khan, Dhinchak Pooja, Avneet Kaur and Nisha Guragain.
As a youngster, Nagar loved comedy and played video games until late at night. He uploaded his first video at the age of 10. He later dropped out of school because he was nervous about an upcoming exam.
“During childhood, there were many things I tried my hand at but nothing seemed to go my way. Whether I studied for an exam or participated in other activities, nothing seemed to work. I felt I wouldn’t end up anywhere and thought I’d just try creating videos for my YouTube channel, whatever the consequences. I had nothing to lose,” he says.
Back then his YouTube channel was called AddictedA1, which evolved into CarryDeol in 2015, and finally to CarryMinati. He started creating roast videos soon after and was able to monetise the channel within two years. His videos now receive an average of 35 million views each.
India has the highest number of monthly active YouTube users in the world at around 450 million, according to US online newspaper TechCrunch. Inexpensive mobile phones and some of the world’s cheapest internet plans have made YouTube an easily accessible option for entertainment in India, resulting in the spectacular rise of YouTube channels such as CarryMinati.
While being immensely successful, Nagar has also had his share of controversies. In May 2020, he released a video criticising the entire TikTok community after his fans requested a roast of Amir Siddiqui, a TikTok star and social media influencer.
But the video, which was on course to becoming the most-liked non-music video on YouTube in India, caused Siddiqui to receive a lot of hate online. YouTube removed it, citing cyber harassment, violation of usage and abusive language.
This led to a huge uproar on social media, with the hashtag #JusticeForCarry trending on Twitter, while his angry fans review-bombed the TikTok app on the Google Play Store, causing its rating to fall to one star within hours.
In response, a dejected Nagar uploaded a new video saying his jokes were being misunderstood and taken out of context. This video currently has more than 69 million views and 8.5 million likes, making it the most-liked non-music video on YouTube in India.
Nagar claims that his roast videos are made for entertainment purposes and he doesn’t mean to insult anyone or spread hate. However, as his channel’s popularity grew, he realised that people he roasted were becoming targets of online hate and he changed his approach.
“Since we realised some people have started noticing and taking offence at our roast videos, we have started roasting people only after they have given us written permission. As I choose only cringeworthy content, most people get good publicity through our roast videos, and they easily oblige. People haven’t taken offence at anything I have said in my videos, but sometimes some comments can be hurtful,” he says.
Nagar runs another YouTube channel called CarryisLive, a four-year-old channel with over 8.4 million subscribers on which he streams himself playing video games and interacting with his audience live.
“I have always been passionate about gaming and loved playing video games for entire days. Now I want to make others feel the thrill I get and make them fall in love with gaming too,” he says.
CarryisLive gets an average of 70,000 concurrent views during live streams and holds the record for highest number of concurrent live-stream viewers among all Indian gaming channels.
In 2018, Nagar interviewed Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill on the release of their film Mission: Impossible – Fallout, while his own debut in the film industry is coming in April 2022 for the film Mayday , featuring popular Bollywood megastars Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgn.
“I’m happy with this new experience and I’m very glad because I’m playing myself here,” he says.
Nagar wants to keep exploring and experimenting with his content, process and style.
“We never know how something will turn out if we don’t try and experience it first-hand,” he says. “I’m looking at expanding while continuing to try new things.”
This article was first published in Asia One . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.