Actor and content creator, Shibani Bedi talks about the gratifying and difficult parts of being a Content Creator in the digital age and more!
2020 may be the ‘year from the hell’ but it has definitely given netizens a chance to watch more content from their favourite Creators and Digital Celebrities. On the other hand, it has given Creators a chance to turn the space and resource restraints enforced upon them due to the lockdown into an opportunity and come up with some interesting, relatable and applaud-worthy content. One such Indian Creator who has been producing and uploading entertaining as well as engaging content is Shibani Bedi.
For the initiated, Shibani Bedi is a web/TV/film actor who hails from Delhi. She is most popular for featuring in several viral videos from content producers such as ScoopWhoop, iDiva, MensXP etc. Shibani is an entertainer at heart and has given her talent several different platforms and mediums to reach the audience. She’s done voice-over projects and also been a part of several theatre plays, ad films, and played cameos in Bollywood hits such as Rang De Basanti, No one killed Jessica etc.
Shibani Bedi has a striking screen presence and completely becomes the characters she creates and plays on-screen. Fans love watching her sarcastic, witty and entertaining side through her characters such as Prabhi Didi, Punjabi mom, Bublee Chaijee and even the ones where she resurrects inanimate objects such as the food items or the Mona Lisa. She also shared immense on-screen chemistry with Ankush Bahuguna, making them a favourite among netizens. Their recent short film, ‘Almost‘ took fans by surprise because unlike the comedy videos fans usually expect from the duo, this one spoke about heartache and left the viewers teary-eyed.
She is funny, witty, self-aware, and confident, all of which reflects very well through her responses. Here are some excerpts from a conversation we recently indulged in with the talented Shibani Bedi.
Take a look:
When did your journey as an actor begin?
“My earliest memory of being on stage is from when I was 5 years old. But I think I started full-fledged at the age of 13 when I did my first full-length play as the main actor. That’s when things started.”
How has your life changed over the last few years?
“Well, for one, I don’t think any other job or work profile will do for me, given that I finally know what it feels like to be doing what you love. Not that the journey is all hunky-dory, but there is immense satisfaction in knowing that your work is actually something that in the larger scheme of things makes you happy. Apart from this, I think I am really grateful that I don’t have to prove my credibility and skill set from scratch because of the slight recognition I have managed to amass due to my work. Not to mention the love and warmth that I receive from people who like my work and who sometimes recognise me in public, and that is genuinely the most gratifying feeling in the world. Also, the money is good.😜”
How did your association with idiva come to be?
“I used to head their Copy Desk, but I had had a history of acting work and viral videos before I joined them because of which they had a sense of my talent and inclinations. And when they started their video section, that’s when I was offered a few opportunities.”
When did you personally feel like you were famous?
“Frankly, I don’t know if I can call myself famous, but there have been times when people I have grown up watching have either worked with me or have reached out and said the kindest things to me which is when I feel on top of the world. Not to mention when some of my fans or people who have watched my videos on and off, come up to me and appreciate the work I do. Those are the moments when I feel that maybe things are registering well and picking up.”
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You’re an actor first – do the tags ‘Content Creator’ or ‘Influencer’ bother you?
“Not really. But I do feel that we operate in an industry that is very quick to stereotype and stick to those limitations. So, sometimes that tendency or these tags work against people who might be super talented and versatile but are viewed from an extremely narrow lens till they do something different that surprises the audience. But again, the onus of being able to create opportunities that help you break a certain perception that people have of you, because of the tags they associate you with, should ideally not always be on you. Which is why I feel like every content creator to a great extent is an actor or an actor in the works. So, answering your question, no, I don’t loathe any of these tags. But I do hope that content creators are not made to feel like ‘being an actor’ is a party that they will never get an invite to because they make their own content.”
What inspires your ideas?
“Anything and everything… I honestly, I don’t know what but I guess the more you create, the more fertile your brain and witty outlook towards the world becomes. So, that helps!”
How difficult or easy has it been to shoot at home with no team? What new skills did you develop in doing so?
“Well, it was super tough in the beginning, but thankfully I’ve got a hang of it now. I’ve had to buy two tripods, one ring light and a ring-light stand, thankfully I had invested in a good phone last year so that really came in handy. And finally, I have to say a big thank you to my brother, who is the Jugaad DOP I didn’t think I needed till the lockdown happened! Also, I used to be very reluctant to make videos on my own, or write sketches or structure ideas, until last year. But through these six months, I’ve managed to get rid of a chunk of those inhibitions, and that has helped me and the regularity of my content immensely.”
What has been the highest point of your journey? – If you can pick one.
“I think the best is yet to come. So, I am still hanging in there and waiting for the high point to strike.”
What kind of roles or characters do you want to play?
“Something that takes me beyond comedy for sure and definitely a psycho killer. Or maybe a brooding cop 😁… Or perhaps an antagonist or a villain!”
How important do you think it is to engage regularly with your audience?
“I think it is of utmost importance because that builds loyalty and approachability, which translates into engagement. For content creators, their audience is their support system and their lifeline, so it makes sense to have that channel of communication and interaction open as much as possible. And trust me, as much as we talk about hate online, there is also a solid chunk of people who have nothing but love and kindness for creators. It makes sense to keep them close.”
How do you deal with negativity or haters?
“I used to spend a chunk of my time initially engaging with them, or explaining myself to them, or trying to make them realise that what they were doing was hurtful. But the thing with haters is that they will hate you even if it kills them. So, lately, I have started ignoring a lot of “feedback and criticism” givers. But sometimes when I feel like giving them a dose of their own medicine, I throw a sarcastic or witty one-liner here and there and then ghost! Boom.”
Your content is both funny and a reflection of the current state of affairs. Do you self-censor to not offend anyone/stir trouble or do you create what you want?
“All the time! The backlash and the threats you get when you speak the truth, or point out the issues that need attention through your content, can be extremely unnerving, to be honest. But every once in awhile, I let loose. Because what is the point of one’s ‘influence’ if it can’t show people the mirror or call a spade a spade?”
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Take a look at her responses to our Quick 5 questions:
Most pointless advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t take risks.”
If you had to be quarantined with one of your own characters, who would it be?
Your favourite filter?
Which Digital Celebrity do you love stalking?
What is your ultimate social media guilty pleasure?
“Watching cat, food, and baby videos.”
Check out more entertaining content from Shibani Bedi, here!