Why Dhinchak Pooja Is So Dhinchak: Offline With an Internet Star
Camera: Sumit Badola, Abhay Sharma
Editor: Deepthy Ramadas
How did Pooja Jain, an ordinary 23-year-old, become Dhinchak Pooja, a ‘viral sensation’ at 25? That was the intriguing question that drew me to send an email to Dhinchak, when I requested her for an interview for our series, Offline With an Internet Star. She surprisingly agreed, having denied multiple interviews to media persons earlier.
I asked Pooja if we could, as part of the video, shoot at her place: to look more closely at where she comes from and understand her better. But she declined, saying she didn’t want anyone to know where she lived. Because even a tiny hint here and there could tell people about her locality, and alert her neighbours to her ‘viral identity’.
So much so, that Dhinchak even had to leave a house after her then-neighbours started taunting her and her family for the reception to her videos.
Instead of stopping, Pooja chose to shift her house, and continued to be Dhinchak, quite literally.
In fact, that spirit, of I-know-you-hate-me, but I-don’t-give-a-damn, is what makes Dhinchak Pooja really Dhinchak.
FYI, She Calls Her Haters ‘Double Fans’
Dhinchak is smart enough to know that her haters have made her. After all, her music became viral itself as supposedly being ‘cringe pop’: music that makes you cringe.
Dhinchak is fully aware of the fact that the 77 million+ views that she has gotten on YouTube only through fifteen videos, would not have been possible without her haters, or as she calls them, her “double fans”, who make her even more relevant by dissing her and sharing her videos asking people NOT to view them! As ironic as it sounds!
Well, as they say in the entertainment business, any publicity is good publicity, and Dhinchak definitely knows that the army of haters she has amassed in her short career span have served her well!
Dhinchak Pooja Is Amazingly Confident Of Herself
Some could call her delusional, but here’s the thing — Dhinchak Pooja is amazingly, ridiculously confident of herself and the personal brand she has been able to create. I did get to witness a first-hand glimpse of that in my conversation with her, but I think what stands out the most, as a sign of her unwavering belief in herself, is how she handled being roasted by actor Salman Khan on the sets of Big Boss.
There she was, being mercilessly roasted by a superstar — on a show which was watched by millions — and yet, not for a moment did she seem perturbed, or appear shaken.
Call it a defence mechanism, or peak confidence, or just a thick skin that knows how to hide emotions well, Dhinchak’s way of handling criticism is to block it entirely out of her mind.
For those like me, who are too self critical, Dhinchak’s unwavering belief in herself despite all the haters and trollers, appears almost radical!
As a Content Creator, Dhinchak Doesn’t Believe in Learning and Relies Mostly on Relatability
Ask Dhinchak how she decides a topic for a song, and pat comes the reply: it should be something that is ‘relatable’ to everyone.
Analyse the topics for her songs carefully: and you will notice how almost all of them have, as their hook, a common, universal motif. Today, anybody except a corpse has taken a selfie! Which is partly what, alongside the inherent virality of cringe pop Selfie Maine Le Li Aaj, made the song go so massively viral.
But learning music, or honing her craft isn’t something Dhinchak believes in much.
Umm, don’t know about teachers, but dropout startup billionaire types might just agree to that!
But here’s what I found most intriguing about the myth of Pooja. That even though people may joke about her, or hate her, they just cannot ignore her.
As we were hanging about in the gardens surrounding a Delhi monument, everyone from young men and women, to kids, to married women, all queued up to click a selfie with her, the moment they got to recognize who she was. One of them, a young 20 something guy, had just minutes before hissed to his friend, “Ye Dhinchak Pooja hi hai na? Kitna ganda gaati hai!”, which I had overheard. But there he was, despite his disapproval of her, keen to get a selfie clicked with her. I let out a smile looking at that, thinking, “If that’s not celebrity culture, I don’t know what is.”