YouTube channel puts the spotlight on Mumbai through its many residents

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 15:39 IST | Shraddha Uchil |

It is not for nothing that Mumbai has been called the city of dreams. Millions arrive year after year, eager to make a name for themselves, be it as actors or entrepreneurs. It is these fresh faces that 24-year-old Arushi Dutt hopes to capture through her YouTube channel, Everything Bombay

A video featuring expats has this French national speaking in Hindi
A video featuring expats has this French national speaking in Hindi

It is not for nothing that Mumbai has been called the city of dreams. Millions arrive year after year, eager to make a name for themselves, be it as actors or entrepreneurs. It is these fresh faces that 24-year-old Arushi Dutt hopes to capture through her YouTube channel, Everything Bombay.

A still from an Everything Bombay video shot at a cultural fest held in a city college
A still from an Everything Bombay video shot at a cultural fest held in a city college

Dutt started her channel, which showcases the city and its many layers, in December 2015. Her upcoming segment titled ‘Aspire to be’ will profile Mumbai’s emerging talent in five-minute-long videos. Dutt shares, “There are so many young people who are just starting out in the acting, music and art scenes. With Everything Bombay, I want to find these talented people and take viewers through a day in their lives.”

A video features an interview with one of the oldest workers at Dhobi Ghat
A video features an interview with one of the oldest workers at Dhobi Ghat

Back to the start
“I lived in the USA and then Canada for around 11 years, so when I moved to Mumbai, I realised I didn’t know anything about it at all. I’ve always loved being in front of the camera, so Everything Bombay was my way of exploring the city while doing something I really enjoyed,” she says.

Dutt tries playing the dhol at The Lil Flea in BandraDutt tries playing the dhol at The Lil Flea in Bandra

It took her about three to four months of planning, after which she uploaded the first video — where she covered The Lil Flea in Bandra — on the channel. In the video, she captures the fun atmosphere of the space, talking to stall owners, digging into the food on offer, and indulging in antics.

Since then, she’s gone on to upload a host of other videos, spending a day at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, venturing into Dhobi Ghat, and cycling through Sanjay Gandhi National Park. However, one video stands out.

“I asked a bunch of expats what they think about Mumbai. After having lived abroad for so many years, I know how weird it can be to adjust in India. I wanted to get a feel of what it’s like for them to be living here,” says Dutt. What ensues is a hilarious conversation about everything from spicy food, cattle on the roads, and banter in broken Hindi. After being uploaded seven months ago, the video blew up, gathering nearly 50,000 views and gaining Everything Bombay 600 new subscribers.

The challenge
It’s not easy to sustain an independent YouTube venture — production costs can be high. Dutt says, “I have to take into account the cost of renting mics and cameras, and factor the video editor and cinematographer’s charges. This takes the cost of each video up to nearly Rs 15,000.”

Even if she edits all the footage herself, she says, there is still rental equipment involved, as is the cost of travel and, in some cases, entry fees. Often, she ties up with media students, who are willing to help with production at no cost. It’s a win-win — they have something to add to their profile, and Dutt gets the help she needs. “One of my team members also composes original music for the videos,” she adds.

Moving forward
Dutt continues to look for sponsors, but, in the meantime, she has taken to creating vlogs (Internet-speak for ‘video blogs’) on the channel. “Whenever I leave the city to explore a new place, I shoot travel vlogs. It’s just my camera and me. Through these videos, my viewers get to almost coming along with me on the trip.

I edit these videos myself,” she says. Vlogs, she adds, are a good way of ensuring that there is content going up on the channel even when funds are running dry, as they don’t cost much to create.

The ideas for her videos are born out of everyday observations. Sharing the plan for the one she’s most excited about, she says, “One thing that I believe defines Mumbai is its rhythm. The overhead handles in the train swishing from side to side, municipality workers brushing aside dried leaves with sweeps of their brooms... these movements and sounds are an integral part of the city. I hope to bring them all together in a video sometime soon.”

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