In Tamil cyberspace, YouTuber Madan Gowri is making a name for himself with his popular infotainment-focused videos that cover a wide range of topics. With a fan base of 1.5 million subscribers and a consistent track record of uploading a video a day, the channel is a hit across the internet.
In an interview with TNM, Madan Gowri opens up about his journey so far and how the channel has gained popularity over the years.
The story behind Madan’s YouTube success began a few years ago. A native of Madurai, Madan was just like any other youth dealing with personal problems. “During my final year of college, I had a tough time as I suffered a break up,” says Madan. “As I went into depression, I found solace in YouTube and used it as a tool to redirect my energy.”
When he kickstarted his YouTuber ambitions in 2013, he had no idea that it was going to become a hit in the years to come. “I posted my first video on December 5, 2013,” he says. “In the initial stages, I didn’t have much of a reach but after a few months, my channel gained momentum. One thing led to another and now, I’m a million-and-a-half subscribers strong.”
The premise behind Madan’s videos is simple. Speaking directly to the camera, Madan focusses each video on a specific topic, which he then tries to explain in a nutshell. The topics range from science to politics, current affairs to travel, history to philosophy, and more. “Once I zero in on a topic, I research extensively on the internet,” he explains. “Also, I contact relevant people offline if the topic demands. I condense the relevant info and present it briefly.”
Madan also seeks to spread social awareness by talking about topics that many refuse to discuss. From menstruation to homosexuality to prostitution, he’s covered most of it in his signature style.
Though Madan initially shot his videos in English, he eventually decided to switch to Tamil. “Some viewers asked me to explain the same topic in Tamil. Once I obliged to their request, I realised the immense potential of vernacular content. Most Tamil videos on YouTube are saturated with entertainment and political content leaving little space for information. My channel is an honest attempt to fill that void.”
What’s more, Madan is a one-man army, managing every aspect of his channel from researching to shooting, and editing the video. “I work alone,” he says, laughing. “Once I post a video, the viewers take it up on themselves to improvise my points and correct my errors. I would say each one of the 1.5 million subscribers has contributed to the channel. However, I have plans of forming a team soon.”
For most YouTubers, balancing their work life and virtual life is a challenging task. Madan, who was working as an analyst in an IT company, quit his job very recently in pursuit of his passion. “During my baby steps, I made a promise to myself that I’ll quit my job if I gained a million subscribers,” he says. “To be honest, I loved my full-time job. But I couldn’t do justice to my channel by setting aside few hours a day. Now that I’ve taken the plunge, I’m gearing up to improve the quality of my videos in the days to come.”
Since Madan launched his channel, many similar-themed infotainment channels in South Indian languages have sprouted up on YouTube. “Most of them contact me for inputs on their content,” says Madan. “And I try my best to help them improve. Besides, I maintain a great rapport with other YouTubers. We are one big family!”
His channel has grabbed the attention of South Indian celebrities as well, including director Atlee, music composer Hip Hop Thamizha Aadhi, and actor Jiiva. Apart from producing his own videos, Madan has also interviewed cricketer Harbhajan Singh for a popular YouTube channel, and given a TEDx talk.
So what’s next? “Right now, I am just going with the flow as the last year has been pretty eventful. I never planned all this. For now, I am letting this sink in,” says Madan.
“And I'm excited for what’s awaiting me in the days to come”, he says, with a smile.