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What happened to these viral internet stars after their brief glory days?

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To this day, no one is quite sure why Why this kolaveri di by Dhanush went viral in 2011. A fun song that parodies a typical post-breakup storyline has become the nation’s talking point. At the time, we were still getting used to the concept of “viral”. Cut to the present day, humble peanut seller Bhuban Badyakar’s song Kacha badam has become a worldwide rage with countless reels and videos surfacing every day, turning him into a veritable viral star. But the song and dance videos that explode on the internet and take on a life of their own, often contribute little or nothing to the life of the person portrayed beyond the fleeting spotlight. Falling out of favor with the same people who drove their viral fever is sometimes as dramatic as coming out of the dark. And as with a Ranu Mandal or a Bhuban Badyakar, success stories can also be polarizing – leaving people divided over their true talent. Here’s a look at some of India’s viral stars who inspired hashtags and headlines until the next interesting video captured our imaginations.

Sanjeev Shrivastava aka Dabbu

claim the glory: Sanjeev Shrivastava, a teacher, shot to fame when a video of him dancing to Govinda’s Aapke aa jane se at a sangeet ceremony went viral in 2018.


Peak of fame
: Dabbu’s killer moves and uninhibited attitude didn’t take long to go viral once the video was posted on YouTube. Everyone wanted to be like Dabbu – happy, carefree and energetic. The video was quickly crowned “the gold standard of stress relief”. From Anushka Sharma to Arjun Kapoor – celebrities have praised his dancing skills. His phone rang for days and he quickly landed a music video, doing what he does best: dancing. Then came a series of brushes with celebrities like Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Suniel Shetty and his idol, Govinda, and Dabbu launched his own video channel which now has 561,000 subscribers.

Bhuban Badyakar

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claim the glory: Bhuban, a peanut vendor from Birbhum district in West Bengal, went viral around the world when his energetic “badam” jingle caught the attention of netizens.

Peak of fame: Bhuban, who had composed the catchy tune with the aim of attracting customers, quickly reached the height of popularity when, within two months, it garnered more than 20 million views. For a man from a humble background and without a social media presence, the number was staggering. A crochet choreography, remix and countless reels from India and around the world later, he reportedly landed a deal worth Rs 3 lakh for his songwriting, besides appearing on a popular reality show as a guest. Last week, Bhuban performed at an iconic pub in Kolkata to a packed house.


Where is he now
: Although globally trending, Bhuban’s song received mixed reactions from netizens. While some have hailed it for the catchy melody that lives rent-free in their heads, a few argue that it’s an absolute parody of music as they know it. Bhuban decided not to sell peanuts anymore, but to create more viral songs. “I’m a celebrity now,” he said in a recent interview. With a new release on the horizon, he’s looking to expand it.

Pooja Jain aka Dhinchak Pooja

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claim the glory: If there was such a genre as grumpy pop, Dhinchak Pooja would be the queen of it, netizens of opinion. She went viral about five years ago when she released an off-note song, Selfie maine le li, which not only featured insane lyrics, but also inexplicably weird edits.


Peak of fame
: Pooja’s outrageously funny music videos that showcased her rich lifestyle and singing talent, or lack thereof, earned her a spot as a generic contestant in Bigg Boss 11. She even wrote a book about the way to go viral on YouTube.

where is she now: A year after going viral, Pooja’s videos have been removed from YouTube after a man allegedly claimed copyright. Although she continued to release songs like Naach ke pagal ho jao, she faded from public memory quite quickly. Pooja’s latest video, I am a biker, got 567,000 views in a month.

Ranu Mandal

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claim the glory: A destitute woman from Ranaghat in Bengal, Ranu shot to fame in 2019 when a video of her singing Lata Mangeshkar

Ek pyaar ka nagma hai in a train station

the platform has gone viral.

Peak of fame: Ranu has overwhelmed netizens, moving them with her humble past and earnest singing. Her fame was such that she even appeared on a reality TV show and impressed music director Himesh Reshammiya, one of the show’s judges, who offered to record her song at his studio.


where is she now
: A makeover and a few songs with Himesh later, Ranu suddenly started generating bad press with reports of her erratic behavior gaining credibility. Ranu fell out of favor with netizens as quickly as she impressed them, and she began to be brutally trolled for what had made her famous: her voice. After being out of the limelight for nearly three years, Ranu leads a quiet life in Ranaghat. Apparently, a biopic about her is in the works and Ranu will lend her voice to the album, some family members claim. Ranu, meanwhile, refuses to engage with the media.


Sahdev Dirdo

Sahdev 2

claim the glory: A young boy from Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, Sahdev became an overnight sensation in 2021 when a video of him singing Bachpan ka pyaar went viral on the internet.


Peak of fame
: “Basspan” ka pyaar by Sahdev has thrilled Internet users and garnered millions of views. In no time, the accent became meme material. But it all became real when rapper Badshah collaborated with him in a music video featuring Sahdev alongside prominent names. The fame grew exponentially in the months that followed and propelled him to the point where Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel praised him.


Where is he now
: You would think that a song that makes everyone reminisce about their bachpan ka pyaar would have a long shelf life, but Sahdev’s viral song was quickly replaced by more catchy tunes. The trolls mercilessly dissected his voice quality which they thought was below average and claimed he didn’t deserve the fame he enjoyed. Sahdev is now vying for attention as one of many digital content creators. He takes part in trends and shares them with his followers. Her latest reel has clocked over 4L views on Instagram, a steep dive from her original video.