Published: 21st June 2019
From CS aspirant to Vlogger, why lakhs of people swear by Irfan's View on YouTube!
This Chennai-based YouTuber talks to us about how he discovered that doing vlogs in Tamil every dingle day is an extremely challenging day-job by itself — it brings with it fame and a slice of fortune
If you are into exploring food on YouTube, you would have come across this curly haired-man who holds some mouth-watering food in his hands. Mohammed Irfan — a Chennai-based YouTuber who posts food vlogs in Tamil on his channel Irfan's View — manages to garner 50,000 views the same day he uploads them. Ironically, he never knew vloggers got revenue from YouTube when he started! He took a bold decision to set his CS aspirations aside to become a full-time YouTuber, though he wasn't quite sure if success was possible.
Because he understands that there's no fixed time that people have to slather over great pics of food, Irfan uploads food vlogs every day by working for up to 18 hours straight! He visits many restaurants that even local people are not aware of and the only aim is to entertain people with informative content every day. What keeps him motivated? We decided to ask Irfan. Excerpts:
From a CS aspirant to a YouTuber, how did this shift happen?
I started Irfan’s View in 2016. After graduation, I wanted to become a CS, but that was difficult for me, so I started working in a BPO. After a few months, I bought a new smartphone with my salary and started recording some videos. At first, I started reviewing movies, but, that didn’t work out too well. Food was something I’ve always liked. So, I started visiting restaurants and reviewing food which had a better response. Also, I started vlogging in Tamil and at that time, no one was posting vlogs in Tamil. So it was an added advantage.
Did you see something promising in the long run when you started or was it just for passion?
It was just driven by passion. I never knew one could earn money through YouTube at that time. I wanted to do something productive during my weekends. That’s all. Like every other kid, I wanted to become successful. I had the opportunity to study in the USA and even there, I made a lot of vlogs. Though I began uploading my vlogs only in 2016, the idea was there since 2010.
What did your parents say when you told them you are going to be a full-time YouTuber?
My parents didn’t want me to take this up. My dad is a practicing Muslim and he was completely against this whole idea of the entertainment start-up. For a year or so, he never knew what I was doing. I didn’t listen to them at that point of time and never tried to convince them. It was very hard in the beginning, but now everything has normalised.
You post something every day. How do you find restaurants that even most locals are not aware of?
I used to visit popular restaurants back when we started. I also visit cities like Madurai, Salem, Ahmedabad and New Delhi. I don’t search for places on Google at all. I just go out and search for restaurants and visit them. My friends suggest a lot of restaurants as well. Nowadays, many restaurants invite me to review their place and many of my subscribers leave suggestions. If four or five people have recommended the same place, then it gets added to my list.
Mouthwatering: Irfan uploads food vlogs every day by working for up to 18 hours straight!
In a scene where there are foodies literally everywhere, what do you think you stand out?
First of all, I was the only Tamil YouTuber posting food vlogs. You’d have also noticed that most of the food reviewers out there are not fat. But, I am fat and chubby and that goes hand in hand with food. So, I feel people enjoy a funny and chubby man eating food and they also enjoy the way I eat it! (laughs) I don’t post negative reviews at all because that will trash a person’s hard work.
I saw your recent collaboration with the Best Ever Food Review Show. How was it to collaborate with international YouTubers?
It was an unbelievable experience. I usually invest in cameras and gadgets more than the others who have a Tamil YouTube channel. But, when I met Sonny (The vlogger who runs BEFRS), his crew was very content-centric. The experience was enlightening and I was very inspired by their work. Until I met Sonny, I never understood the intensity of the work put into some YouTube videos.
Parents push their kids to have a definite career and not follow their passion. Do you think the line of success is blurred with blogging?
You really don’t have to spend much time on it in the beginning. You can find what you are good at and work on it for 2-3 hours a week. You should try and see if you are lucky in this field. Everyone has smartphones today, even ninth graders can post some quality content during weekends. If you are very serious about this, you can work on it for 6 months and see how it goes.
What’s it been like creating and operating a YouTube channel like yours?
Talking before the camera itself is a challenge for me. I didn’t have a computer back then, so I had to edit videos on my phone. Then, after a week of hard work, only 40 people used to watch my videos. I used to increase the views by repeatedly watching my videos again and again! (Laughs) but sadly, YouTube never considered them as views. I’ve also wanted to quit vlogging many times, but I didn’t. If I fail to clear an exam, it will not be evident unless I tell anyone, but here the story is out there. My health always takes a beating as I’m eating outside every day. Finally, I constantly have to think about what I can post the next day.
Your friendly neighbor: Irfan has 384,184 subscribers on his YouTube channel!
What’s a normal day at work like for you?
I go out, record videos for the day and come back to edit them. I’ll go home after 5 pm and then chill with my family and friends. Sometimes, I’ll have to shoot vlogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’ll take close to 12 hours of work outside, followed by 6 hours of editing in the studio.
Do you have any pro tips for tourists to avoid falling into the ‘tourist trap’?
They can try checking the prices online at first, learn about the city and understand how everything works here. If they wish to try street food, they can ask the locals about the actual price and be informed before visiting a place. This is actually a big issue here which we just ignore. Even my friends have told me about this. We have to make sure that tourists are not cheated. It’s entirely in our own hands.
Reach out: www.youtube.com/irfansview