Often at work, when I would get bored, I would press CMD-Tab on my Mac and head off to drown myself in the joys of the internet. Movie reviews on Rediff.com, Sports writing on Cricinfo, and funny videos and trailers on Youtube.
(Of course I was doing all this to learn the art of storytelling).
And on Youtube, while I would watch videos by a variety of creators, perhaps the group that I enjoyed the most was All India Bakchod (or AIB).
For the uninitiated, AIB was a comedy collective which created funny sketches and videos on a variety of topics. Some of their well-known series included:
- The Honest series - a seriously funny take on all experiences from restaurants to flights to engineering campus placements to the Big Fat Indian Wedding
- The Bollywood spoofs: Check out the viral one with Alia Bhatt, or their work with Irrfan
- Political satire: the biting one on the news media or the one on elections
It’s really good stuff. I found the quality of their storytelling so good that I don’t think I’ve missed ANY of their sketches (yep, I even liked the Pista one).
I also liked the fact that AIB would always respect its writers and prominently credit them in their videos (often getting these reticent creators to appear at the end to ask for the mandatory subscribes and likes).
One such writer I noticed in some of those videos was a shy, nerdy looking guy called Devaiah Bopanna. I realised later that he was the Head Writer there.
Cut to - a few years later - I came across some funny posts by Devaiah on an unlikely platform - LinkedIn! And I also learnt that he - along with some AIB stalwarts like Tanmay, Nupur, Vishal, Puneet - have been responsible for the crazy viral CRED ads - including the one featuring Rahul Dravid as Indiranagar ka gunda and Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad as members of a boy band.
And then I decided that I need to get Devaiah on my podcast to get his take on the craft of storytelling. It took some time, but I’m glad that I persisted.
Devaiah is a multifaceted and thoughtful creator. During the conversation he talks about:
- His curiosity being his biggest learning driver
- Why he would think extra hard about the opening in a story
- How AIB made its stories surprising yet familiar
- The parts of storytelling where he personally struggles with
It’s a fun, insightful conversation. Enjoy!
A small note before we begin: There are parts where Devaiah uses some fairly colourful language. Since this is a show for adults, I’ve chosen to keep them in. But please be mindful in case you are listening with young folks around.
Devaiah Bopanna on LinkedIn and Twitter