#KetchupTalks: Purav Jha shares his creative approach to character comedy!

Piyush Singh
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Purav Jha

In our conversation with YouTuber, Purav Jha we discussed what drives his creativity and passion for character comedy. Scroll down to read more! 

Since the advent of social media, sharing art has become easier than ever, allowing artists to showcase their work to the world. But the same accessibility has made the competition pretty fierce. Today, it has become a real challenge for creators to find their niche among the noise. YouTuber Purav Jha believes that apart from being sure of what one loves to do, the key to standing out is to understand the audience and know what they connect with. 

A few months back, something caught people's attention and they started comparing Purav to AI because of his ability to mimic multiple characters. According to them, his portrayals are done with such precision that it blurs the line between the original and the imitation. It seems like that might have been the moment when Purav realized that character comedy could be his calling. During our conversation with Purav, we discussed what fuels his creativity, how he came to love character comedy, and how he manages to maintain such a strong bond with his audience. The discussion allowed us to better understand his approach and mindset as a content creator and actor.

Also Read: Unlocking the integration of Meta AI across platforms and its impact on our digital experience

Read the full conversation to know more: 

What inspired you to start creating content, and can you share a bit about your journey from the beginning to where you are now?

When I was in 10th grade, I found a sudden passion for acting, and around that time, TikTok had become very popular in India. Seeing how people were getting praised and recognized for their talent, I also decided to give it a try. However, not long after, I realized that TikTok’s 60-second limit wasn’t enough for me to fully express my creativity. Around that time, many people were making it big on YouTube, and that got me thinking that long-form content might be better suited for me.  I never took formal acting classes. Since I was a kid, I loved watching movies, especially South Indian ones. I learned by watching closely and copying how people acted.

Once, just as a fan, I reached out to Mayank Mishra on Instagram, hoping he would reply. Mayank Bhai, a close friend of Harsh Beniwal, frequently appeared in collaborative videos. At that time, I was a big fan of Harsh Beniwal. During our chat, I expressed my interest in being a YouTube creator. After a few days, he called me up and, to my delight, asked if I would be interested in playing a small role in one of Harsh’s videos. The title of the video was "School Diaries," where I had to act as a student in a crowd. When I reached the set and saw the huge setup required to shoot a YouTube video, I knew I had a lot to learn. It was during this shoot that I met Harsh Beniwal, and I was thrilled. Over time, my involvement grew, and I started contributing to the writing and planning of videos. One of our biggest hits was the series “Daru with Dad,” which gained significant popularity. Working closely with Harsh Beniwal and his team provided me with the exposure and learning I desperately needed at that stage of my life. I joined his team full-time after completing school. We worked together daily from 9 to 5, spending our time scripting and planning. From that initial collaboration to now being a regular teammate, the whole thing has been incredible. Today, I’m working on projects of my own, and I find immense joy in what I do. But you know, everyone has to start somewhere, and these collaborations were just the support I needed in the beginning.

As a content creator, what describes your typical creative process? 

I've always had this urge to learn and experiment more, and there's no better way to come up with ideas than by brainstorming with people. So, right now, my creative process is all about working on the script and jamming with my friends. It's kind of like a group study session before an exam—you're studying with your friends, bouncing ideas off each other, and helping each other out. That's exactly how it feels. This helps my creative process and also gives me the support and encouragement I need. 

What initially drew you to character comedy, and how did you get started? And what's with the trend where people are comparing you to AI? 

You know, it's funny how things unfolded. About five months back, I made this video where I imagined Big Boss as if it were a YouTuber’s house, and I played Elvish Yadav’s character in it. People started commenting on the voice I did for Elvish, saying it sounded like it was dubbed by AI. It was surprising because you don't often hear that kind of feedback. That's when I thought, maybe character comedy is my thing, so I decided to dive deeper into it. I revisited Elvish’s character, polished it up, and got an even better response. One of the toughest challenges was portraying IShowSpeed. That guy's energy is through the roof! But when I pulled it off, my teammates were blown away by how close I got. That boosted my confidence, and I started trying my hand at mimicking other personalities too.

I'm not sure exactly when people started comparing my performances to AI, but just today, I wrapped up shooting a video portraying the character of Bear Grylls, and the reactions on my reel have been fantastic. Feedback from my audience means a lot to me, and I take it seriously. Maybe that is the thing that helps me keep delivering content that hits the mark for them.

How do you ensure your portrayals are fresh and engaging, even for characters the audience is already familiar with?

When we get an idea, the first thing we do is figure out the character—like Dolly Chaiwala, who was in trend at that time. I was chatting with my writer, Shivam, about it, and we thought, "Should we do something with this?" But we didn't know what we could do. So, we decided to create our own version of him, our own Dolly universe. We imagined scenarios where Dolly and Bill Gates are best buddies and wrote dialogues for that. It was a bit of an experiment, but people loved it. Playing a character is tricky—you have to keep them interesting, especially when people are familiar with them and don't associate them with comedy. Take Dhruv Rathi, for example. When I played his character, I kept his gestures and expressions but talked about stuff he'd never cover in his videos—like romantic relationships. Yet, people enjoy hearing comedy in his style. For me, wherever I play a character, it's all about nailing their voice and body language. The rest, like the script and storyline, I add my own flair to make it funny and engaging.

How much of your character work is scripted versus improvised?

Let me be honest with you. Our process is about 40% scripted and 60% improvisation. We start with a 15-minute script for each video, but on set, things often extend to 25 or even 30 minutes because we're constantly improvising. Sometimes, in the flow of things, I'll say something unexpected and it gets a laugh from the crew. That's usually a good sign that it'll connect with the audience too, so we roll with it. This improvisational approach keeps things fresh and spontaneous. We prefer shorter scripts because they tend to hold people's attention better. The real magic happens during filming, where we build on the foundation of our script and let creativity take over. 

Do you collaborate with others when you are developing your characters, or is it mostly a solo effort?

It's never a solo job, my partner Shivam is right there with me every step of the way and our creative process is very collaborative. Shivam's role is focused on writing—mainly dialogues and filling out the script. Shivam handles about 60% of the writing, particularly the dialogues, while I contribute around 40%. First, we brainstorm plot ideas together and map out the entire storyline from start to finish. We bounce ideas off each other until we finalize the flow we want. Once we have the structure in place, we start with detailing each scene. When it comes to adding humor, that's where I chime in the most. We discuss which jokes work best and where to place them, especially in trailers or teasers. Definitely, it's not a solo job. 

And what kind of content do you want to do more of? 

Many might not know this, but when we started out, we focused on comedy sketches. They were pretty costly to produce, and despite our efforts, they didn't quite hit the mark with views or engagement. But I kept at it, always with that artist's drive to create something special. One project that really stands out for me is "The Great Indian Valentine, featuring the character Raghu, who narrates his fictional love story with Shalu, revealing at the end that it's all in his head. It was a project I cherished deeply and Raghu remains one of my favorite characters I've played.

People scroll through their social media feeds to lighten up their mood, and we realized that relatable humor and jumping on trends was key to grabbing attention. While it's helped us grow, I've also been itching to do more original, unique stuff. I've talked it over with my team—right now, it's about building a solid audience base, but down the line, we'll definitely explore more creative comedy sketches. I'm grateful for the love we're getting now, but as an artist, I'm always looking ahead. There's so much more I want to explore and create. 

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice when you were starting your journey, what would it be?

If I could go back in time and give myself advice when I was starting out, I'd say, "Hey, you should really consider joining theatre. It'll help you grow so much more."

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