Orange Juice Gang: Saurabh, Karan, and Neel 

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Mrinil Mathur
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Orange Juice Gang - Saurabh, Karan, and Neel get chatty with Social Ketchup Ed, Mrinil Mathur Rajwani about creating content, trending on our feeds, how they turned 2021 into the best year of their life, and plans for the future.

Saurabh Ghadge, Karan Sonawane, and Neel - not knowing them was so 2020. Because they turned 2021 into THE Year for them. From our social media feeds to hoardings in our city, they have been leaving their mark everywhere with their wit, laughter, and out-of-the-box yet relatable content. With a dream to paint the sky, three of them have tried everything under the sun to climb the ladder of success, but in their fluid juicy way of laughter and honesty. They might come across as the guys next door, but their success story is inspiring and definitely worth a tale 

These three with their creator friends, Siddhant, Saurabh, Sravan, and Shubham, or as their fans call them the ‘Orange Juice Gang’ have been making us giggle every day through Reels and YouTube content. The trio has also been unlocking achievements and having many firsts on Instagram featuring them on a Hoarding under its ‘In the Making’ campaign, acting in a web series, representing India's leading brands, and more. 

As funny as they are in REEL life, they are equally hilarious and fun to hang out within REAL life (don’t be J!). During my time with the three of them at the shoot and the interview, we couldn't stop laughing. But it’s not all laughter and fun when you speak to them. They might not drop in gyaan to go viral but their drive & passion to work and achieve big in life will do the needful. Their hunger for more and the aim to touch the sky is what stayed with me the most. 

They are very much aware of the hard work and sweat that went behind getting what they have now and what hard work they will have to put in and the sacrifices they will have to make to be where they want to be. And as I write this, the shoot day plays in my head, and honestly, I can't explain how fun and productive it was for each and everyone there, because the Orange Juice Gang boys were at work. 

Enough of my rendezvous, here's an inside view of their journey of becoming ‘The Out of the Box Stars’ 

Mrinil - How did it all start for you guys? In which phase of your life you were when you started creating content? 

Karan - Individually, it was 2015 when I started creating content, before that I was doing theatre. In 2015 I started with YouTube, did stand up for some time, and then later joined Instagram. In between, I was also making memes for another YouTube channel, and now I started creating full-fledged content for myself. 

Saurabh - For me, it was an inspiration-driven by looking at other creators like Bhuvan Bam; I used to feel good and it would motivate me to do something similar, even in school we used to have a lot of fun doing these things, I always felt, I have that thinking capacity to make funny content, though didn’t have the experience of acting. In 2016 I uploaded my first video. Initially, there was no theme I used to put anything on the channel without giving much thought; and then gradually I started developing an interest and became serious about it. That’s when I decided to make a career in this and try harder; it all began in 2016 for me. 

Neel - Before this I was into film-making, was also working as a cinematographer for 3-4 years, was working for two years; then I met Karan, he had his own YouTube channel, it was just to help him with shooting his videos, I joined him. I was already into filmmaking before that. Then from the second video, I started giving some suggestions. Soon, I started acting in those videos. That was the point when I started content creation. Eventually, it turned out well! I had never focused on content creation before that I never even thought about it as a career. Karan and I explored everything together. We started from YouTube videos to short videos, so that’s how it all started.

Mrinil - When was the first time you guys realized that you or your group was famous? 

Karan - I don’t know about being famous, but in 2015, we tasted blood when one of my videos with Neel went viral. People knew about us then, but they did not recognize us. I guess it was from Jan 2021, when people started recognizing us and they knew that our video was viral. That's when we tasted fame a bit. We made a music video after which we started getting appreciation. But, there’s no particular incident that I remember as such. 

Neel - We got appreciation from Divine, and Vicky Kaushal, and worked with them. Everyone who met us praised and recognized us as the gang. They look at us as the gang only. They appreciate us, but they love the gang. If they come across anyone’s profile, they automatically check everyone’s profile. There have been instances when six of us are featured in the same video, it has garnered millions of views. 

Saurabh - In July or August last year when the lockdown was over, I went to pick up some groceries in a nearby area, and I met someone who recognized me, appreciated my work, and took a selfie. It was all so new for me. At that time I understood that people knew me. I had around 30/40 K followers on IG. 

Karan - As Neel said, the experience of interacting with Divine or Vicky Kaushal, those were phenomenal and an affirmation that we are on the right track. Because I know for sure many content creators who started before us or are famous-famous, are not quality content creators and people recognize us for our content, for acting, for our edits, and the small details we keep in mind in our content. All this is assurance that people are recognizing and praising our work and that we are doing something different. And make us feel proud of ourselves and make us work every day in this career path we have created. 

Mrinil - What’s in the name - Orange Juice Gang? 

Saurabh - I made a video which was about ‘How rich people wake up v/s me’. I have observed in movies and shows they show rich people have orange juice for breakfast, or people serve them orange juice. That hit me with a funny idea, I made that video randomly and it was just another video. In that video, the way I said Orange Juice, people picked that up and associated it with me. So, all my new followers know about Orange Juice irrespective of the context. Our group didn’t have a name as others, and everyone around us suggested we have one, so when we had to pick a name, somehow we ended up as Orange Juice Gang. 

Mrinil - Most of your work is with your gang. How did you guys come together? Your content also stands out because of the interesting onscreen presence of each of you. Was it a professional decision to work together or more out of friendship?

Karan - Till Jan 2021, Neel and I were creating content with each other because we stay closer to each other. Later in Jan 2021, I recognized Siddhant, Saurabh, Sravan, and Shubham who were creating good content. Neel and I were always on the lookout and exploring talent, and then we got to know all of them and started tuning from the start. We understand each other’s jokes and timing well. When Neel hit 100k on Instagram we all met for the first time, and after that, we started making content with each other. So it’s not friends who work together, we started working together and ended up becoming great friends.  

Neel - On 21st Jan 2021 for that 100K Mark, I wanted to meet and make a collaborated dance video with all the creators, I appreciate and interact online and also celebrate the mark. We hit it off well, all of us met frequently and created more collaborated videos and soon we became a gang. Now, we don’t have to explain much. 

Mrinil - How is working with friends? Because you guys work in a similar zone, do you find road crossing? 

Neel - There is no question about competition. I know that the number of followers is not going to make a difference. So tomorrow if I have more followers than Saurabh or Karan, I am not going to get an award for that. Everything depends on the hard work I put into my content. 

But yes, as far as we are talking about supporting each other, that we do. And that comes naturally to us and there is no pressure to show that to each other. If we like someone’s work, we will appreciate it. We haven’t discussed all that with each other, because forming a group was also not discussed in the first place. We all work together because we understand and appreciate each other’s work. 

One thing we also do is that, if someone has an idea and the rest think that the idea is not good or a societal responsibility we should not put this kind of content, we convince that person to not go ahead with it and explain the impact of it. 

All of us are keener in creating content and working on each other’s videos is our way to show our support for our fellow creators. 

Karan - I feel there should not be a competition between creators. As an example, we might cross Divine in followers one day, but we won’t be able to beat him in his talent. There is no comparison there. We will always be his fan boys. In our group also, we all have our unique identity and because of that people will recognize and we will not crossroads. The only fight we have is to show to work on time and nothing else :P 

Mrinil - How does it actually work when someone has an idea? Or is everyone in charge of specific tasks? What happens when you guys have a similar idea, or there is a matter of conflict because you are all more or less in the same zone?

Saurabh - There is nothing like that. Since all of us are individual content creators, we only try to shoot and edit our videos. If there is an idea and I know who should I cast in it, I will approach that person, if they are free they will join me and if not, I will look for someone else from the gang to help me with that idea. And if we need help in shooting, we ask for whoever is available, because everyone knows everything right from ideation to editing, 

Neel- The thumb rule, is whoever has the idea, is the director of that video and others follow it, or give suggestions if they have any. The final call is of that person. 

Karan - When we want a particular characteristic then, of course, we have our choices if I need a female character, I would prefer Saurabh, for any generic video we can switch to anyone based on their availability.

Mrinil - What is something that differentiates your content? Even better if Saurabh can tell about Neel, Neel about Karan, and Karan about Saurabh.

Saurabh - What differentiates Neel’s content is the Marathi touch that he adds to it. There are very few Marathi content creators and out of that too there are a handful of good Marathi creators. And that’s what connects with his audience. So when a Marathi consumes his content, the regional touch they get, interests them more and his audience likes him for that and makes his content way too relatable for everyone. 

Neel - Firstly, each and every content piece Karan creates is highly relatable, which we can share, to an extent that I end up sharing everything he posts. The shareability of his content is too good. The second thing is his acting and the third is his editing. With the choice of music in his reels, the way that particular music is placed, and perfect timing, he puts a lot of elements and time into editing his videos, and therefore his reels are thoughtfully edited. The perfection element in his reels work very well, he is very focused(Indian) which is what I love about his Reels. 

Karan - Saurabh plays the girl’s character very perfectly! I cast him only for all the female characters in my videos, because I know if he is playing that character, the video will perform well. He has a poker face, but in that too, he is so much fun to watch playing that role, his nuances like laughing and all really work for him, which is unique for him. It is relatable no doubt. People think that his height is short so he cannot do many characters but I feel that his height is perfect for him like when he wants to play a girl’s character, or a macho person, and all that works very well for him. I love those things. The pieces that he makes are very funny. 

Karan - There is no end goal from content creation, there are many goals, we are just kicking the ball and luckily goals are happening.

Saurabh - Acting was and is my end goal, whatever is happening is not enough, the sky's the limit for me. 

Neel - Never set an end goal, I want to do a lot of things and content creation lets me do that. The only goal is to make content when I am old too. 

Mrinil - What future do you see for yourself and the gang in terms of a content creator? 

Karan - As a group, the only thing that is keeping us together is the unity that we have and the relatable stuff that we have like showing up late or having fun at work. Apart from that, the work ethics we have, showing up for each other whenever required, and creating collaborative content, that’s what we aim to continue. And thankfully, all of us are getting good opportunities across content creation and other like-wise industries. And I hope that continues. The best thing is that we are a group and a bunch of individual content creators and we all are thriving for opportunities. One thing I want is all of us to be cast in a movie together or make one on us! 

Saurabh - I want to have a YouTube Channel for Orange Juice Gang! Not immediately, but hopefully in the future. 

Mrinil - How will you sum up your year 2021? How are you prepared for next year? 

Neel - For me, I thought 2020 was the best year because that’s when I hit 10k on Instagram, I left my job but was doing good, and I started vlogging again. But then in 2021, so many amazing things happened that now I feel 2021 was the best year of my life and I hope that every year I feel that this was the best year of my life and that’s why I am fingers crossed for 2022. In 2021, we saw growth in terms of followers, work, money, and exposure. I worked with Sachin Tendulkar, was on the hoarding for Instagram, did several campaigns, and had my first international trip, I am on your cover :P so a lot of firsts happened to the three of us this year. It was a surprise package and I didn't realize it was ending so soon. 

Karan - As Neel, said 2020 was the start of our career, 2021 was great and for 2022 we already have bigger and better things in the pipeline. But yes one thing to assure you, we are going to follow the quality of consistency and of course consistency with quality. That we won’t ever mess with, people have high expectations from us and they look up to us and that we have to maintain and we are very working towards it. 

Saurabh - 2020 was a game-changing year for us, the growth that happened during that time is the cause that we are able to grow and bear fruits in 2021. It was a nice year because several milestones we didn’t plan happened for us. So yes it was a game-changer. 

Mrinil - Do you self-police while creating content? Do you have some rules for yourself, or how do you draw a line while creating comedy? What is your mantra?

Karan - Of Course! Especially now. Earlier we used to make content on anything and everything, but now we self-police our content. We bounce off ideas within the group and gaze if the audience is ready for this kind of content or not. We are self - aware and we are always prompt to warn others in the gang. Sometimes after this also, the audience takes it to a different zone and we fail to understand why people can’t see it as a pure harmless joke. We think before posting, we have a responsibility on us, but where we are right, we don’t budge. 

Mrinil - What dreams did the Content Creation career fulfill for you?

Karan - For me, I always wanted to enter into films, and hoping that to come true soon courtesy of the career I am in right now. The film fraternity and celebrities recognizing me is a huge thing, appreciating my talent and my acting.  

Neel - Many dreams came true with content creation, but the biggest one is the money that I got with it. The ability to take responsibility for my parents, share in family expenses, to make their dreams come true. All this while, I was dependent on them because I was not doing that good financially. Though they never asked me to contribute, it was my dream to do that and now for 1.5 years, I am able to do that. And that makes me happy! And the best part is I am able to do what I love and still get paid for it. 

Saurabh - I gave a lot of auditions in the past, I used to go for random auditions and get rejected. I used to go to Versova, Andheri every day for auditions and faced so many rejections. But after that phase, I never thought I would see a phase where so many people will appreciate the content that I put. The dream I had to act in a show or film came true with the web series and secondly as Neel said money! I am just 22 so at this age if I am earning a good amount of money it makes me feel so happy and proud. Because I was right outside my graduation college, was dependent on my parents, living on pocket money and now I am earning this much, contributing to the family, getting my house renovated, all this is a completely different feeling.

Mrinil - Do you have any end goal for content creation?

Karan - There is no end goal from content creation, there are many goals, we are just kicking the ball and luckily goals are happening. Personally, I am waiting to work with Sharukh Khan Sir. 

Saurabh - Acting was and is my end goal, whatever is happening is not enough, the sky's the limit for me. 

Neel - Never set an end goal, I want to do a lot of things and content creation lets me do that. The only goal is to make content when I am old too. 

Karan - We know we are very privileged that we are living this life. We have been through different jobs and we know how hard it is out there, and very few people get to do what we are doing. There are downfalls for every content creator but you have to fight back. 

Neel - We are also privileged that we are part of a group and we are creating content collectively. So even if I am in a phase of my career where I am not getting good content ideas, I can at least act in others' videos and stay relevant. And helps in overcoming the creative block. 

Mrinil - What was the hardest thing that you had to do in 2021 and What is the best thing that happened to you in 2021? 

Karan - The best thing that happened was Divine recognized us, he knows us by our name. I am a huge fan, he is my idol, and meeting him and knowing him that closely is a dream come true for me and I am sure it is for Neel and Saurabh too. The hardest thing is that in this course, I am not able to spend time with my family. I don’t remember when was the last time I sat with my Dad and chilled without rushing for the next thing. But now I am a little selfish towards myself because I craved this life and I am doing all that I can to have it. 

Saurabh - The hardest thing for me that happened was, that I had a phase when I was shooting for the web series and I wasn’t able to create content during that time because of several reasons. And as a creator, who loves creating content, not being able to do that was the hardest thing this year. Fortunately & unfortunately, during the second wave, all of us were at home and I got a chance to create ample content and saw exponential growth during that time. 

Neel - The hardest time for me was in March when I was alone in Pune. I had gone there to make a web series but then the web series also got over then I started feeling low as there was nothing else to do. Then I came here and was in a creative block zone where I wasn’t able to create content. And I felt a stunt. Since I missed consistency, I was in a zone where I couldn’t find anything worth creating content. The best time for me was Billboard which was a very big achievement for me and all of us here. 

Mrinil - If you have to give an award acceptance speech, what will it be? Who are you going to thank?  

Karan - In the future, if I get an Oscar for acting, I just want to go on the stage and end my speech with “Jai Maharashtra”. There are many people to thank, but I will be thankful to myself for being patient, working very hard, and sticking to what I am doing. Because there were moments in the past I felt, that this is not happening and that I should quit. 

Neel - I think Karan said it very well. Because in content creation you talk a lot and others can just support you from outside. This field is dependent on mood so it is very important to keep yourself happy, not overthink, every day think out of the box and for all those reasons, I would like to thank myself. And then would be my friends and family who support me constantly, who are part of this journey, because we can be selfish at times. 

Saurabh - People to thank are through phases in life. At every phase, there was someone who supported us. When I started and had nothing, friends were there, they supported me in a lot of ways only because they were my friends. Mom-Dad supported me when I was low and was confused about my career, they showed patience and hope. Different people supported me in different ways, and thus all of them deserved to be thanked and appreciated. And after that, I am to be thanked for the career/ award. 

Mrinil - And If you have to title your biography, what will it be?

Neel - My social media handle should be the title - Just Neel Things 

Saurabh - Nonsense Biography  

Karan - Believe in Magic 

Mrinil - What are your plans for 2022?

Karan - Plans are already in process, and big things are in place. Just aiming for Sharukh Khan in 2022. And if Manchester United Managers are reading this, please connect with me in 2022. That's the biggest dream for 2022.  

Saurabh - Career-wise there are a few plans in the pipeline that should be the biggest plan for 2022, but fingers crossed that there are more. And personally, I want to have an International Holiday! 

Neel - My biggest plan for 2022 is to get married, after that she is only going to plan my life JK! 2021 was a surprise, and I am waiting for bigger surprises in 2022. Not hoping for anything and getting everything is what I aim for! 

Read the entire interview here!

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