India’s Top Social Media Influencers

Love them, loathe them, you simply cannot ignore them.

Once, they were dismissed as online vloggers. Today, an increasing number of young people from different corners of the country are harnessing the power of the Internet to show the world that their talent, voice and opinions matter.

With over 1 million social media content creators in the country, India is at the crux of the creator economy. Using their content, and their powerful social media following, these creators make money through advertising.

In a nation of 1.4 billion people, where a potential new creator is born every second, we’ve handpicked 25 influencers who have ruled social media this year.

1. Bhuvan Bam
Comedian, Singer, Actor
26.4 million YouTube subscribers
18.2 million Instagram followers

Bhuvan Bam with Shah Rukh Khan

IMAGE: Bhuvan poses with Shah Rukh Khan during a promotional event for Amazon Prime Video. Photograph: Kind courtesy Bhuvan Bam/Instagram

Bhuvan was 20 when he watched a television news anchor asking insensitive questions to a grieving woman who had lost her son in the 2015 Kashmir floods.

Bhuvan posted a satirical video recreating the situation and instantly connected with viewers.

In June 2015, he started his YouTube channel, BB Ki Vines, where — in a fun, satirical style — he focuses on issues faced by the janta.

The 29-year-old comedian, singer and actor made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

2. Jannat Zubair Rahmani
Actor, Singer, Influencer
48.2 million Instagram followers
4.45 million YouTube subscribers

Jannat Zubair Rahmani

IMAGE: Jannat made her television debut in 2010. Over the years, she has cemented her place as one of the most stylish digital entertainers in the country. Photograph: Kind courtesy Jannat Zubair Rahmani/Instagram

If being multi-talented were a face, Jannat Zubair Rahmani, the 20-something artiste with nearly half a crore followers, would certainly qualify.

The actor made her television debut playing Kashi in Kashi: Ab Na Rahe Tera Kagaz Kora. Since then, she has appeared in a number of serials including Phulwa, Bharat Ka Veer Putra — Maharana Pratap and Tu Aashiqui and movies like Hichki.

She won hearts in Khatron Ke Khiladi, Season 12, where she stood fourth but impressed everyone with her courage.

Her CV, which includes a slew of music videos, is taller than she is.

Over the last couple of years, Jannat has established herself as a formidable fashion and lifestyle influencer. She entertains her followers with dance, music, fitness and travel videos.

Is there anything, one would be tempted to ask, that Jannat cannot do?

3. Yashraj Mukhate
Music Producer, Singer
5.15 million YouTube subscribers
2.5 million Instagram followers

Yashraj Mukhate

IMAGE: Yashraj Mukhate celebrates his YouTube milestone. Photograph: Kind courtesy Yashraj Mukhate/Instagram

‘So beautiful, so elegant, just looking like a wow!’

While it was Jasmine Kaur — an entrepreneur who sells salwar kameezes on Instagram — who became an overnight sensation for using this phrase, Composer Yashraj Mukhate turned it into a meme that became extremely popular.

Unless you are hiding under a rock, most of you are certain to have grooved, shared or reacted to one of the popular music videos created by this musician who entertains his audience by adding rap beats to viral moments or unusual dialogues, turning them into parodies that give the original moment a second lease of life.

He became popular when he spoofed the rasoda scene in the popular tele-serial Saathiya Saath Nibhana and followed it up with Shehnaaz Kaur Gill’s Saada Kutta Tommy dialogue in Bigg Boss 13. This meme became so popular that Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh even danced to it.

In an ocean of social media creators who share their musical talent, Yashraj is a name to reckon with.

4. Ranveer Allahbadia
Podcaster
6.82 million YouTube subscribers
3.1 million Instagram subscribers

Ranveer Allahbadia

IMAGE: Ranveer Allahbadia is the founder of the YouTube channel Beer Biceps and co-founder of Monk Entertainment and Level, a digital marketing agency. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ranveer Allahbadia/Instagram

Known by his social media handle Beer Biceps, Ranveer has cracked the knack of creating viral interviews with engaging content.

From actors to spiritual leaders, entrepreneurs, soldiers from the armed forces, authors and politicians, Ranveer collaborates with diverse personalities to talk about their journey and career learnings and share their knowledge with the world.

Ranveer, who has an engineering degree, regularly shares content with his 12 million subscribers across seven YouTube channels, one of which is a talent management and influencer marketing company.

5. Shraddha Jain
Comedian
930K Instagram followers
409K YouTube subcribers

Shraddha Jain with Narendra Modi

IMAGE: Shraddha Jain with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi in Bengaluru. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shraddha Jain/Instagram

When former software engineer and radio jockey Shraddha Jain met the prime minister in February, he greeted her with ‘Aiyyo.’

Jain, aka Aiyyo Shraddha, creates comic videos on corporate life problems, parenting and social issues that instantly strike a chord with her audience.

Her rant on mass tech layoffs during the pandemic is among the most-watched on the list.

6. Awez Darbar
Dance choreographer
30.8 million Instagram followers
12 million YouTube subscribers

Awez Darbar

IMAGE: Awez Darbar started his career as a choreographer after training under Shiamak Davar. The dance entrepreneur is the founder of Ace Productions. Photograph: Kind courtesy Awez Darbar/Instagram

His father is the well-known composer Ismail Darbar.

Awez chose to chase his calling for dance and went on to carve his niche as one of the highest-paid TikTokers in India.

7. Sharan Hegde
Finance Entrepreneur
2.5 million YouTube subscribers
2.4 million Instagram followers

Sharan Hegde

IMAGE: Sharan Hegde, right, with author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki. Photograph: Kind courtesy Sharan Hegde/Instagram

Do you think finance is boring?

That’s probably because you haven’t been introduced to Sharan Hegde.

A Columbia MBA dropout, Sharan is known for his hashtag Finance With Sharan. He creates interesting short videos that educate people about the importance of managing their money, investing right and planning for retirement.

A finance entrepreneur and the founder of The 1% Club, he was among the first Indian influencers to launch his NFT (non-fungible token, a unique digital crypto token) and has been featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

8. Gaurav Chaudhary
Tech vlogger
23.3 million YouTube subscribers
4.3 million Instagram followers

Gaurav Chaudhary

IMAGE: From shoes to gizmos, Gaurav Chaudhary is your go-to guy for detailed product reviews. Photograph: Kind courtesy Gaurav Chaudhary/Instagram

Ajmer-born Gaurav Chaudhary, popularly known as Technical Guruji, has a degree in microelectronics from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Dubai.

He is trusted for his reviews and technical expertise on the latest gadgets, lifestyle accessories and technology and is among the few tech Indian vloggers to have more than 10 million YouTube subscribers.

9. Payal Dhare
Gaming Professional
3.36 million YouTube subscribers
2.7 million Instagram followers

Payal Dhare

IMAGE: Payal Dhare, founder of S8UL, a game streaming platform, is among the one per cent female gaming professionals in the country. Photograph: Kind courtesy Payal Dhare/Instagram

Imagine being paid for playing games!

In a field once dominated by boys, Payal Dhare has found her niche and joy.

The cute and entertaining Payal enjoys posting streaming videos and gaming content and is among the first few female gamers in India to have over 3 million subscribers.

10. Dr Palaniappan Manickam
Gastroenterologist
2 million YouTube subscribers
1.1 million Instagram followers

Dr Palaniappan Manickam

IMAGE: Dr Palaniappan Manickam became a popular source for medical advice during the pandemic. He continues to offer insights on improving food habits to lose weight naturally and improve gut health. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dr Pal/Instagram

Know a doctor who can cure you and also make you laugh?

Dr Palaniappan Manickam, a gastroenterologist, offers medical advice in light-hearted doses.

The good doctor, who is now based in California, uses comedy to raise awareness about faulty eating habits while sharing advice related to improving gut health, dealing with chronic illness and staying healthy.

In an interview to Deccan Herald, Dr Pal mentioned that the funds from his social media accounts are donated to a trust in his home town, Madurai, that offers palliative care.

11. Shivesh Bhatia
Baker, Cookbook Author
1.7 million Instagram followers
1.42 million YouTube subscribers

Shivesh Bhatia

IMAGE: Shivesh Bhatia is a self-taught baker and food stylist from Delhi who creates baking videos for his YouTube channel, Bake With Shivesh. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shivesh Bhatia/Instagram

Drooool!

That will probably be your first reaction when you scroll through Shivesh Bhatia’s feed on Instagram, which is filled with mouthwatering pictures and videos of cakes, cookies and baked treats.

A self-taught baker, Shivesh has authored three cookbooks and has been listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30, Asia.

12. Dolly Singh
Actor, Digital Creator
1.6 million Instagram followers
696K YouTube followers

Dolly Singh

IMAGE: Dolly Singh was invited to the Cannes film festival in 2023. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dolly Jain/Instagram

Who would have thought a camera-shy teen from Nainital would become a social media princess?

Body shamed and bullied as a kid, Dolly Singh has shown the world the true meaning of the word courage.

The influencer and actor, who rose to fame with her comic videos featuring Raju Ki Mummy and South Delhi Girls, was last seen in the Karan Boolani directorial, Thank You For Coming.

13. Larissa D’Sa
Travel Influencer
7 lakh Instagram followers
593K YouTube subscribers

Larissa D'Sa

IMAGE: Travel entrepreneur Larissa D’Sa marked her ramp debut when she walked for Designer Anju Modi at the Times Fashion Week in Mumbai in November 2023. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Larissa D’Sa worked as a presenter at TravelXP, a travel streaming platform, before she decided to become an entrepreneur and create travel and lifestyle content.

She owns a boutique restaurant in Goa and has co-founded a mental health community to give back to society.

Larissa loves to post vlogs about travel, beauty, fashion and art for her YouTube and Instagram followers.

The GoPro brand ambassador and TEDx speaker was also featured on the Netflix show, Eternally Confused And Eager For Love.

Source: India’s Top Social Media Influencers – Rediff.com Get Ahead

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