What’s stopping Bhula Dunga from crossing 100 mn views?
By Bryan Durham - May 6, 2020
It’s been over 40 days since the release of Darshan Raval’s Bhula Dunga, and the single’s video has broken a string of records since that time.
One that’s most visible in plain sight is the fact that it currently stands at over a million comments on YouTube . Well, if we want to be more precise, it stands poised (at #21) to break into the Top 20 Most Commented Videos on the platform and topple Alan Walker’s Faded from the list.
Here’s why this is a bigger deal than the last time we spoke about this record. These are the big leagues we’re talking about. The most commented video of all time is BTS’s DNA. The Top 20 Most Commented Videos list is BTS-heavy (6 videos) and K-Pop dominant (10 videos, including those by BTS, PSY, EXO and Blackpink). This Top 20 list has no One Direction videos, no Taylor Swift videos, no Ed Sheeran videos and only one video apiece for Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Alan Walker. Bhula Dunga has left behind 16 BTS songs in its trek to the #21 position.
A cursory look at this phenomenon will reveal one glaring similarity between those who have crossed a million comments (and counting). Every video (except Bibi H’s how it is… wap bap at 61mn views, which also is one of the most disliked videos on YT in comparison to the likes) has several hundreds of millions of views (some have billions).
That’s where Bhula Dunga stands apart. It is India’s most commented-on video, without a doubt. But It has only 59 million views. But it got there in 40-odd days. It boasted of getting the fastest million likes (and 2 million likes) for an Indian video and the fastest “organic 10 million+ views” and the “fastest organic 30 million+” views as well. But since crossing the 50 million views mark, the surge has been somewhat slow.
Now, every one of those artists (or their labels thereof) have more than 5 million subscribers on YT (in the least). Darshan Raval and Indie Music Label, by comparison, have 2 million-plus subscribers each. That makes Bhula Dunga (which released on IML) something of an anomaly in the scheme of things.
The same surge that caused Bhula Dunga to rise in the “likes” and “comments” ranking, hasn’t quite helped it grow and cross a 100 million views (in the very least) as yet. Even so, it might happen sooner than one might expect.
The reason BTS, BLACKPINK, EXO or Justin Bieber are high up on the Most Commented Videos Ever list is the same reason BHULA DUNGA is now on the list. FANS.
Fan armies of K-Pop acts are known for phenomena like “streaming parties” that assure the immediate virality and success of new tracks. They support and prop up every new release by their idols and that, in turn, ensures that their idols get far greater engagement, reach and audience discovery than they would without them.
While fan armies in India (that follow the K-Pop ARMYs model) aren’t exactly a new thing, it’s been noted that while Indian actors have traditionally enjoyed a bigger, more engaged following, Indian singers now have fandoms that are waaqif with every post, every announcement, every appearance, every private moment, everybody in their idol’s entourage as well as their haters.
Yes, Darshan Raval’s numbers and consistent hit-rate is impeccable. He constantly punches above his weight and it shows. His fans, the Darshaners, have supported every big effort and every small endeavour and one just has to look at the positive impact he’s had on his several-million-strong following since 2014.
But the reason Bhula Dunga’s rise has been meteoric is because of the coming together of two other equally engaged fandoms along with the Darshaners. The video features actors and former Bigg Boss contestants Sidharth Shukla and Shehnaaz Gill. Their fans (Sidhearts, Siddians, Shehnaazians) ensure they regularly trend on Twitter and it also helps that fans, smitten by their chemistry together, have decided to ‘ship the two as #SidNaaz. This group calls themself the SidNaazians. Why does shipping help? Just look at any boy band/girl band in recent times and you know that fans are even more pepped up when this happens.
Over the past few weeks, this writer has witnessed this phenomenon firsthand as far as Bhula Dunga is concerned. And the dejection at not being able to reach set streaming targets is all too palpable as is the joy of crossing major milestones.
The big question everyone’s asking is: what are we doing wrong?
The correct answer? There’s no foolproof or accurate way of telling. The way YouTube functions is quite confusing to the average eye, even more so, if you wonder why something isn’t happening despite your best efforts. Every YouTube creator has been there.
So what can these fandoms do? The answer is relatively straightforward. Keep at it. Don’t back down. Make YouTube take notice. But first, accept that you’ve done your best so far. Certain records have been created as well as broken, but now it’s time to go for the big one that’s escaped you so far: the 100-mllion view mark.
Till then, watch Bhula Dunga all over again!>