It’s Toronto Desi Diaries’ 100th blog and it’s fitting we commemorate our centennial blog post with two high-flying, super famous YouTubers—Jaz Saini and Harjit Bhandal (drumroll, please).
These YouTwoTV creators, it so happens, have a million reasons to rejoice. Their channel, launched two years ago, recently blew past the 1 million subscribers. Wow! Congrats guys. Not surprising then that Jaz and Harjit’s careers have taken off like Elon Musk’s rocket launches.
“We’re really lucky that we have each other,” said Jaz. “I am grateful that I don’t have to do this alone. It’s a lot of work, it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it…”
The talented duo has carved out a neat little niche for themselves in the highly competitive YouTube space, a commendable feat, considering how many others are jostling for attention in the super-crowded social-media platform.
Little wonder then that their fans break the Internet every time they drop a new video (weekly).
How’s it that these two desis from Toronto (Brampton) are able to deliver hit after hit? Their video, Back to School: Types of Students boasts 33 million views. Ditto, Types of girlfriends guys hate. Their lifetime YouTube views so far? 265.7 million. These numbers are jaw-dropping.
So, what’s the secret sauce?
It’s easy. Jaz and Harjit are a couple and the camera captures their sizzling chemistry, easy camaraderie, mutual affection and respect. Now to add to this potent mix some witty banter, a topic every individual between 18 to 34 years can relate to, voila! You have an award-winning team.
I met the superstars during their “giddy with success” phase. They had just won the iHeartRadio MMVA “Fan Fave Much Creator” award; had their names and faces splashed across various media platforms and were being courted as brand ambassadors for several well-known companies.
And yet, they were humble and untouched by the noise. It was so easy to love these two.
“I still feel like we’re just regular people, just living our dreams,” Jazz says. “It is a little hard having your whole life on the internet and people commenting about every little thing you do. We’re lucky to have a really awesome family of viewers that support what we do. It’s cool knowing what we’re doing is impacting all of these people.”
Harjit: “I feel like nothing really has changed, my views and the way I handle things are relatively the same.”
Papa kahte hai…
Initially, both their families did not understand how the whole YouTube phenomenon could be a viable career. Jaz had a diploma in marketing and her parents wanted her to opt for a 9 to 5 job, one that came with a consistent paycheck.
“There was no way to talk to them about it, but show them,” Jaz said. “When we launched our YouTwoTV, we never told our parents and cousins that this could blow up, instead we decided we would tell them of our success through articles in the newspaper, interviews on TV…”
Harjit’s parents too were clueless and questioned his decision.
“It makes sense our parents wanted us to be successful and not go through the struggles they did when they immigrated to Canada,” he said. “I think they became comfortable when they saw us becoming successful.”
Winning the coveted iHeartRadio MMVA was a turning point for these two Bramptonians whose talents came into sharp focus in the mainstream media. It was surreal.
“I see ourselves in L.A, in TV shows and movies,” Harjit said when asked about the path ahead. “We have big dreams and it’s not about ‘what-if-we-fail’ instead, we’re always thinking of what we can do next to make it even bigger.”
The pit of despair:
Last year, Jaz filmed a video, “Dear Mom” in which she talked about her mother’s struggle with depression and her death by suicide. It was a raw and poignant conversation that underscores the fragile mother-daughter relationship, the unanswered questions, the pregnant pauses and the shadow of darkness.
Jaz, like her mother, lives with a depression and is struggling to find answers about the darkness that occasionally envelopes her.
The video ( below) is a brave voice of a woman who in telling her story has made it easy for others in the South Asian community to do so.
Here’s a conversation Toronto Desi Diaries had with the YouTwoTV couple.
TDD: YouTwoTV has crossed the 1-million subscriber mark, how does this make you feel?
Jazz: It’s actually so surreal that in less than two years, we’ve somehow managed to convince 1 million people that we’re entertaining. It feels awesome to know that our hard work is paying off!
TDD: How many videos do you post per week and what’s the creative process? Do you write down the sketches, dialogues, decide location…?
Harjit: We make one video a week on YouTube and try to make 2 to 3 small skits on Instagram a week.
Jazz: As for the creative process, it’s different every week, sometimes we have an idea in our head and we spend a full day scripting and two days filming.
Harjit: Sometimes, we have no idea and spend 2-3 days thinking of a topic and have to cram filming into one day.
Jazz: We take an approach to every video differently, which keeps us on our toes.
TDD: “YouTube Stardom” is a millennial/ “Gen Z concept, how did your parents reconcile that neither of you were going to end up in a conventional profession?
Jazz: I’ve always been super independent and have done things differently than anyone else in my family, or just in the Indian culture and what my parents were used to. My Dad wasn’t really surprised when I went this route, he trusted that I knew what I was doing, but kept his distance and watched from afar.
Harjit: Up until last year, my parents were still telling me to “get a real job.” It wasn’t until I started getting awards and I was in the news that they finally supported my dreams. Now they know how many subscribers we’re at before I even do!
TDD: What topics do you avoid when it comes to the content you produce?
Jazz: We try not to limit ourselves or even censor ourselves. I feel like people can tell when you’re not being genuine or when you’re trying to be someone you’re not. We try to avoid just being fake or even copying someone else’s work. It’s hard to be original with so much content out there, but we try and make sure we’re giving something fresh and new to our viewers every week.
Harjit: That’s the most important thing to us (being ourselves), and we definitely try not to offend anyone, ha,ha.
TDD: Anything in your childhood prepared you for facing the camera so effortlessly?
Jazz: – Nothing at all
Harjit: We don’t belong here, haha!
TDD: Were you a couple when you started the show? Or did love saunter in slowly?
Jazz: –We were already madly in love before we started YouTwoTV.
TDD: Which one of your videos is closest to your heart, and why?
Jazz: “Dear Mom” is a video that we made a few months ago, it’s different than anything we’ve ever done and talks about my relationship with depression and suicide and it was the first time I’ve ever publicly spoken about how my mom passed away.
Harjit: “Dear Mom” lies really close to my heart as well for pretty obvious reasons. I’ve never really seen Jaz let herself be that vulnerable and we focused so much on the videography in that video.
TDD: Who are your role models and why?
Jazz: Harjit! He’s one of the most positive and hardworking individual I know. I’m really lucky to have found him.
Harjit: Besides Jaz, Eminem and Shah Rukh Khan are definitely my biggest role models.