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How Neha Kakkar's decision to give the selfie a twist changed her life

With 6.3 million followers on Facebook, London thumakda singer Neha Kakkar says the fans are due to her raw Selfie Videos

It was in 2012 that singer Neha Kakkar decided to give the selfie, then not quite the favourite pastime it is today, her own twist. Till then, the girl from Rishikesh, had won Indian Idol 2, done playback for Cocktail and had performed with artists like Honey Singh. That decision changed her life.

The Selfie Video she recorded was for a song called Botol Khol for the movie Prague. Wearing a black spaghetti and specs, she sang along naughtily, making faces at the camera. "I wanted people to know who I was — Neha Kakkar, the singer, not just the voice of an actress," says Kakkar, 26. She sings looking into her phone, smiling sensuously and raising her eyebrows to the tune, emoting skillfully. It has earned her the title of Expression Queen.

She claims to have invented the Selfie Video, and it turned out to be a commercially wise move. A stranger, who in retrospect Kakkar owes a lot to, downloaded it from YouTube, and shared it with friends on WhatsApp. "It went viral. I don't know how you seem to have not seen it," she laughs. "People come for my shows and wave their phone at me, while playing the video."

From two lakh followers on Facebook, she now stands at 6.3 million. It's a figure that grows every day. Four years later, she is now posting at least four videos a month, amassing close to 4 million views. "We put up a selfie-video of Mainu Ishq Laga, a Punjabi song, at midnight, and 24 hours later, it had 2 million views. It got 50,000 shares!"

You'd imagine an artist, who owes most of her fans to the videos, will spend her time planning and strategizing multi-media, but Kakkar is laidback. "I am always working, touring and singing my songs. So, my Selfie Videos are usually recorded in the vanity van or backstage right before or after a show. I already have make-up on, so I look good!"

She insists the secret lies to keeping it natural. "You can't pretend to be happy, you have to be happy," says Kakkar. After watching her in Manali Trance, she was asked if she was high when she shot it. "'I don't drink or smoke. It's just my interpretation of it," she reasons. She knows movies could be the next leg, but she's superstitious. "Most singers' careers flop when they start acting!" she says. For now, she will do what she does best. "Every film I sing for, I have people say, 'promise you will make a Selfie Video'. Of course, I will."

1 million
followers on Instagram

150,000
on YouTube

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