[VoxSpace Selects] VIVA : An Insightful Study About The Revolutionaries Of The South Indian YouTube Circuit

Why Is VIVA Our Bae Right Now?

Earlier last week on the Independence Day, The VIVA team released a first of its kind sketch cum social message video on drinking and driving in collaboration with actor Sai Dharam Tej and Chaibisket team. The video portrayed different kinds of traffic offenders and their antics. It has been put together so humorously that it will leave you in splits. What marks the video as extra special is it comes with a tinge of a message at the end. Thus, the video probably on this date becomes the best proportion of selling social messages via humour. However, this isn’t the first time that the VIVA team has done such ‘out of the box’ videos. Earlier last month they had put up another social commentary sketch titled “What’s Next Modi”. Here’s what’s more interesting. Since the VIVA and the AIB released a social message sketch in the same week, Viva on the internet is now being hailed as the AIB of the south, for their similar whacky sense of humour. Or should we say AIB is the VIVA of the North? Only time and a million subscribers will tell.

This brings us to wonder when did VIVA delve so much into our life’s. When did this group actually start winning hearts? I mean we all know the apparent answer.  After the release of the VIVA video, but what made us stick around with them. As they say, getting success is just one part of the game. Making it a habit is an entirely different thing. And VIVA has made immense fame and success they’ve got, count for something spectacular today. So here’s our pondering on the subject – why are they the revolutionaire of Telugu YouTube space.

The Origins Of The Comedy Collective On YouTube Eventually Called VIVA

Four years ago, a group of engineering students of Gitam College, Vizag, got an idea of making a video on how their viva invigilator tortured them during their lab viva. Never did they know, that making that video right there, would change their lives for the better. As a matter of fact, flip their lives around to achieve household fame and popularity. The video I’m talking about is, of course, the virally famous “The VIVA “directed by Sabarish Kandregula. The video these guys made went so viral, that it became one of the most highly viewed regional language original videos ever (last count a pretty 11 million views). The actors who featured in it became instant celebrities after that. The actor of wit and promise, who played the invigilator in the video got hold of a moniker as VIVA Harsha (Harsha Chemudu). Harsha has since been seen in many collaborative videos and movies, becoming a highly promising comedic talent today in the industry. He was recently seen in “Nakshatram” featuring Sundeep Kishan and Sai Dharam. Another actor, Shanmukh Kandregula, who played a double role in the video, became so popular that his own channel right now is one of the leading Telugu YouTube channels.

How Did VIVA Become A Revolutionary Force For Every Storyteller?

There’s a reason behind calling the VIVA collective a revolutionaire. To start the analysis, let’s take this incident. When their first video released, it went viral on every visual display device which was there at that time. It was a time when smartphones weren’t that popular, and most of the videos were of cheap 3GPP quality. And yet, here was a video which was literally on every phone. It was also the time when not many people knew the potential of YouTube. At least the Telugu YouTube market was taking the first tentative steps.

So what the VIVA video indirectly did was it tapped on the right audience. It took the pulse of the audience and delivered a huge hit on it. You see, until that point, the urban audience didn’t have any other option but to watch AIB or EIC, which were all the rage back then. Also, the YouTube audience was as small as a bubble compared to now. Therefore, the videos too were made according to the audience sensibilities back then. And then came the VIVA and tapped all the right audience, who were looking for quality and content driven short feature. In many ways, VIVA defined the economics of YouTube marketing, to people concerned with it.

The Ripple Effect Which Defined South Indian YouTube Space Courtesy VIVA

As a result of VIVA, everyone saw, what a nice video with content, was worth without having the star power so to speak. In effect, this gave hope and encouragement, to the revolution of short films. Everybody with a camera and an idea was now keen on making short films. And suddenly it content heavy short films became economical too. In hindsight, we can say that those years marked the era of short films. The craze lasted for around three years until the web-series market entered the Telugu YouTube circuit.

Although, at this point, let’s get something straight here. Videos from VIVA aren’t exactly short films. These are comedy sketch videos. There’s a slight difference between sketch videos and short films. A short film is a cinematic story told in a shorter duration, comedy sketch video is a series of short comedy scenes. It doesn’t necessarily need to have a story. The sketches come on as a listicle based content. The what if scenarios, the ten things list, things you’ll relate to etc types, come into sketches. In becoming the master of such sketches, VIVA has time and again, showed the true potential of a cleverly written comedy sketch.

The Relevancy And Longevity Of VIVA In Broader Strokes

So, even after 4 years of making that video, The Viva sketch still remains relevant. Now, that’s what is called ideal impeccable writing, which is a necessity for a medium like YouTube. With the emergence of big guns like Chai Bisket, Wirally or Chicago Subbarao, the audience now has access to a variety of content. However, VIVA has never lost its sheen, owing of its knack of whacky writing. They’re loved amongst the audience because of their uncanny ability to write edgy punchlines which stay in our minds for quite a while. Like -“Apashyam paam kirkiri” or “Rey gallo dosalu vestunava” among several other dialogues, which have garnered such a cult following, that we end up using them in our daily conversations. Also, they flesh out characters, which we feel like our own friends, making them highly relatable and accessible. This is perhaps the biggest USP of VIVA. They’re The Audience’s Writers.

To Ultimate Fame And Recognition Beyond Anything – VIVA Has Just Begun

Viva like any other startup has struggling days to successful days stories from converting an idea into a video then taking it to a level where that idea became a brand in itself. Although, it wasn’t all so easy for them either. After putting out an incredible hit, “The Viva” the expectations on them to follow it up with funnier and wittier content grew manifold. And as they started out, finding producers for YouTube was the real struggle for any director. Add to that, these guys were from Vizag which made it all the more difficult for them. If anybody was interested to fund them, the production used to be a key problem. After around two years of struggling, as the team shifted to Hyderabad eventually “The Aleph Group” started funding them. However, unlike other companies, VIVA doesn’t run on funding. It runs by maintaining good relationships and camaraderie with other channels and its audience. More importantly, the collective welcomes aspiring actors.

VIVA takes in all of the talents that approach the channel and makes sure everybody finds a place in their projects. Now that is a commendable initiative by them, and unknowingly becoming the heartthrobs of the city, on sheer goodwill. Although the Modi series just started, we are eagerly waiting for them to try out newer things, and can’t wait to see them make wittier stuff with celebrities collaborations. After all, they are touted to be the AIB of the South for all the good reasons.

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