"We are South of India," sang the members of Rascalas (previously known as Enna Da Rascalas) when they wanted to make it clear that all South Indians are not Madrasis. They told the rest of the country who painted them in stereotypes, that they were different people, and that each had unique cultures of their own.
While enlightening people of the existing cultures of the five different states of the South, the Rascalas also drew attention to how YouTube had become a powerful content platform.
When YouTube crawled into India, a new career option emerged for visual. All India Backchod, Viral Fever, Being Indian and The East India Comedy are some of the popular Indian channels on YouTube whose videos continue to get millions of views.
Down south, a host of vernacular and English-mixed video content producers have been able to harness the power of the video-sharing site to take their content to the masses.
"I think the YouTube scene in the South is coming up rapidly. All the states of the South are known for their cinema but now, I am glad that people are breaking out of the mainstream and getting on to YouTube," says Mathivanan Rajendran, the creative director of Rascalas
So who are these guys? Here are some of the most popular YouTubers of the south. If you are not following them, you are missing out on some fun.
Rascalas: 56,949 subscribers
The Rascalas who shot to fame with the "We are South of India" video, at present have 56,949 subscribers. The team of eight were initially a theatre group who turned to YouTube when they were looking for more ways to narrate stories. Most of their videos use the tune of a famous Western song which everyone in India can relate to and rewrite the lyrics to fit the story the team is trying to narrate.
South Indian icons like Panche, Lungi, akki roti make an appearance in these videos that are delivered in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada along with English subtitles. They also put up short plays that are based on topical events and guarantee anybody who watches them some good chuckles. "We try to make some videos that are pan-Indian while most others are south centric or explanatory videos, because people seem to be pretty clueless about what goes on down south!" says Mathiyanan, citing examples of videos like "How to annoy a chennaikar in 60 seconds" and "Madras hand gestures".
Hyderabad Diaries: 20,000 subscribers
Hyderabad Diaries is a YouTube channel that has 20,000 subscribers and counting.
A team of two, Abrar Khan and Shahrukh Khan capture the essence of Hyderabad and its people in their videos. From Irani chai and Mutton Biriyani to Karachi biscuits and Iftar dawats, they’ve spoken about it all in their acts.
They deliver their videos in Hyderabadi Hindi, which is likely to not only crack up those who understand the local dialect, but can also amuse them who don't.
One of their most famous works is Aashiq-E-Biriyani. It is an ode to Biriyani that talks about the pain that a Hyderabadi goes through when he doesn’t get to eat his "degcha" full of the flavoursome dish.
Put Chutney: 79,467 subscribers
In a majority of South Indian households, it is considered good manners to host a guest with an elaborate meal. This meal is traditionally served in a banana leaf, which is the logo of the YouTube channel Put Chutney.
Based out of Chennai, the six-member team of Put Chutney is gaining popularity for its spoof-like videos and has a total of 79,467 subscribers.
Videos like "What if the Avengers were from South India" and "What if Batman was from Chennai" are regular hits.
The channel touched an emotional chord when they released a mothers’ day video featuring actress Uma Iyer.
Their content also involves what they call "Roadside stories" that gathers Chennaiites’ opinions on various things in the form of vox-pops. "Life Commentary" is a program that features running commentary on everyday activities.
Aziz Naser: 10,765 subscribers
Aziz Naser is recognised largely for his role as Jehangir from the Hyderabadi feature film "Angrez". However, not many may know that he also runs a YouTube channel in which he showcases his brilliant mimicry skills.
The channel goes by his name and has 10,765 subscribers.
The actor, director and producer has given his voice for Sonu Sood, Nana Patekar, Aditya Pancholi and many Bollywood actors who have featured in Telugu films and he does not hesitate to entertain his subscribers with glimpses of his several alter voices. Each of his videos displays this unique talent in a different and quirky story line. He also shares his knowledge of the film industry and imitates the characteristics of people that one would generally find on the sets of a film.
Madras Meter: 20,000 subscribers
The Madras Meter is a channel from Chennai that makes hilarious videos in Tamil. They take a dig at the "common man" and his whimsical fancies like "selfie video messages for birthdays instead of the age-old tradition of organising a birthday treat" and quirky things like, what if Google were to have Multiple personality disorder and the alter personalities answered all your search queries.
The group of 10 to 15 directors and producers, with Balaji Venugopal as their creative head, try and tap into the relatability factor of Chennaikarans.
Sabarish Kandregula: 38,197 subscribers
Director Sabarish’s channel shot to fame with "Viva", the short film that went viral in 2013 and was made by a team of 9 people.
Sabarish makes short films in Telugu that usually fall into the genre of comedy. Based-out of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, he makes films with his good friend Harsha to whom, Sabarish says, humour comes naturally.
In spite of the many subscribers, the channel has only about ten videos, and the comment section of the channel resonates with requests to make more such entertaining videos along with English subtitles. "Facebook Baba" is another film featuring Harsha in the lead role. The team also made a promotional short film for the student companion app, Dabblr.
The Two Indian: 2,740 subscribers
The Two Indian is a channel based out of Hyderabad and was founded by Anuroop BS and Yadhu Krishnan, a duo which makes prank videos.
The contents of the videos are not just any prank but social experiments that, along with generating a good laugh, make people think about human nature and why they do what they do.
"How and why do ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their nature? Why do good people sometimes act evil? Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?" they ask. Their social experiment "How safe is Hyderabad for women" has gained over 2 million likes and has raised the issue of apathy showed by passersby towards women being harassed in public spaces.