Are you one of the many teenagers born and bought up confused in a western nation, with desi parents so strict that they’d give the conservative ones back in India a run for their money? Well you all have a voice in YouTube stars Jus Reign and Rupan Bal, who are famous for their videos showing Punjabi kids being harangued by their frustrated parents, material for which they’ve harvested from their own experiences.
“My father was initially quite angry with me and told me that I’d lost my way when I decided to start blogging instead of continuing my higher studies but then when other Indian parents started praising me and the accolades began pouring in, things definitely changed for the better,” smiles Canada born Jus Reign aka Jasmeet Singh, 24.
With an interest in breaking stereotypes, Jus also brought his friend Rupan Bal who often plays the scolding Indian mother in their videos. “People asked Jus to cut his hair and lose the turban to make things easier for him,” says Rupan, also Canadian, adding further, “but our culture is important to us and our parents have taught us to value and respect our roots.”
Jus also started spoofing on his experience as the only Punjabi kid in his all-white school, with ‘What white kids say to brown kids’ video having clocked over 2 million hits, showcasing in a lighthearted manner, the racial prejudice he and any other Punjabi kids have faced in all-white schools.
Their videos are clearly not all fluff with both Jus and Rupan strongly relying on humour and the liberal arts to correct the image of the South Asian people, particularly after the 9/11 attacks.
“This was one of my biggest challenges, not just overcoming the stereotypes but also trying to get enough people to see that,” says Jus.
At present, both Jus and Rupan are in Chandigarh to shoot for director Vishal Parasher’s Punjabi film 22g Tusi Ghaint Ho. While Rupan is already a Punjabi film old, this is Jus’s first foray into Pollywood. “I have already made inroads into the Canadian and North American entertainment industry and figured it wouldn’t hurt to build a foothold here. I had no idea how big my videos here are,” says the man whose YouTube shenanigans on his channel ‘Jus-Reign’ have generated over 50 million hits to date.
“It’s obviously an honour to work alongside the legendary Mann saab,” they add.