Bhuvan Bam | Content creator and actor | Having moved to Mumbai last month, Delhi boy Bhuvan Bam on finding his groove in the city filled with hustle and helpful people
After many trips to Mumbai over the past six years, Bhuvan Bam finally rented an apartment in Andheri last month. Pic/Satej Shinde
When one hears of a Delhi boy moving to Mumbai, the first thought that comes to one’s mind is Shah Rukh Khan’s trajectory—a middle-class boy who came from nowhere and became among the country’s biggest superstars. Bhuvan Bam’s journey is almost an antithesis to that. The internet sensation-turned-actor was a bona fide star when he first arrived in Mumbai in 2017. After six years and many to-and-fro trips to Mumbai, last month, the content creator finally rented an apartment in Lokhandwala, Andheri.
Most move to the Maximum City to fulfill their cherished dreams. Bam has long ticked that box. So, what made him move here, at this stage? “Goals,” he says. That, and convenience. “I am now developing sequels to Dhindora and Taaza Khabar. It wasn’t humanly possible to shuttle between cities every week. So, I decided to move base to Mumbai, at least for a while.”
The past seven years have been a whirlwind for him. After one of his videos went viral in 2015, the then-Delhi-based boy quickly became an internet sensation with his YouTube vines. He followed it up with his comedy, Dhindora that became a rage among netizens, making him one of the most popular Indian content creators on YouTube. A new chapter of his success story began in January 2023 when he made his web series debut with Disney+ Hotstar’s Taaza Khabar.
For the foreseeable future, Mumbai will be his home as he dabbles in showbiz. He still remembers his first visit to the city in 2017—it was dramatic, thanks to the torrential rains that the city is known for. “I remember the first time I came out of the airport, on a wild rainy day, many years ago,” he says, building up the suspense. “I took an auto-rickshaw to my destination. There was knee-deep water everywhere, and I was low on cash. Despite less money, the driver dropped me off safely.” That incident told him what he needed to know about the city. “This city has the best people. I am reminded of that incident every year,” he smiles.
Things have changed dramatically in Bam’s life since that rainy day. He now has a beautiful two-bedroom house, to boast of in the city. Between his writing, shooting and deadlines, the content creator-actor is doing up the house. He wants to do it up in a minimal fashion, going with his own approach to things.
We tell him that he didn’t have to face the nightmare that is house-hunting in Mumbai, complete with landlords, their unreasonable conditions before subletting an apartment, and the ever-rising rents. His star power comes in handy, he admits. “I lucked out. They are some sweet aunties and uncles. It also helps that their children know me. Kisi se pyaar se milo toh they would be happy to give you their home. By the time we are at the stage of signing lease, they know me and my work. Since I am on YouTube, they trust me to not be unreliable,” he grins. And there is always his Marathi background to fall back on. “I am a Maharashtrian boy from Delhi. So, Marathi words work like magic on them,” he laughs.
Building a life anew in another city is tough. One has to not only find their own rhythm in the city, but also steadily build a support system—from helpful neighbours, to like-minded colleagues, and hopefully, new friends—to make the transition easier. Bam, who lost his parents to COVID-19 in 2021, knows that the road ahead will be emotionally tough. But at 29, it’s a part and parcel of adulting. “For most of us, this phase of life is about physically living away from the people who know us best. Technology keeps us together, but most of my friends aren’t in Delhi anymore. They are all over the world. Every now and then, we catch up and get a lowdown on each other’s lives.”
Living alone can be daunting. It’s no different if you’re a star, he notes. But Bam is where work is. “Delhi doesn’t evoke the same discipline in me as Mumbai does. Delhi is home, wahaan aalas failana aasaan hai. In Mumbai, if you don’t work for two days, you feel guilty. The lethargy of Delhi has been replaced by the alertness of Mumbai. You have to live up to this city’s hustle culture. I feel slightly away from my comfort zone.”
Do the little things that come with the change of scene unsettle him? To begin with, he must be used to the wide roads of Delhi. Cut to the infamous traffic snarls of Mumbai. How is he coping with them? “My projects are in development at this stage. So, we are sitting indoors and writing. The long hours of being stuck in traffic haven’t become unbearable yet. I either write at home, or with my friends who live a few lanes away.”
But surely, he must be missing Delhi food. Every Delhiite, who comes to the island city, whines about how it can’t match the capital’s gol gappa or chhole kulche. “Delhi is a class apart when it comes to food. But you have to find hidden gems in the city where the dal makhani matches up, and the butter chicken feels familiar,” he says. So, has he discovered some haunts in the city? He recommends bun maska and chai at the Irani Bakery. “That said, I am mostly a home-cooked meal person. I like my rajma and kadhi made at home. I have stopped ordering off food apps. I used to be a serial orderer. But I have changed my ways.”
His previous visits had already familiarised him with Mumbai. Over the past month that he has moved in, he is getting to know it more intimately. So, does it feel like home yet? “Culturally, Delhi and Mumbai aren’t too far apart. That way, Delhi and Bengaluru are poles apart. For me, it’s simple. Delhi is my safe space; I will never sell my Delhi house. Delhi is home and Mumbai is work. And I continue to be at work. Ghar toh kabhi bhi jaa sakte hai.”
Mumbai meri jaan?
Love about Mumbai Its people, and rains.
Hate about Mumbai Hate is a strong emotion. I need to live here more to find the flaws.
Expectations from Mumbai I hope it keeps fulfilling dreams of many aspirational people like me.
Did Mumbai live up to it? Mumbai always lives up to it. Even though dreams are unfulfilled at times, the city teaches us that such is life.
Will it remain forever home? Let’s see. Home is where heart is, and I’m possessive about my heart.