Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu | Edited by: Ekta Handa
SRINAGAR: Deepak Kalal hails from Pune but has recently gained many followers from the Kashmir valley, courtesy his videos on social media platforms.
A 45-year-old man, Deepak Kalal, a commoner from Pune, Maharasthra seems to have broken the ice with Kashmiris. His Facebook page, Youtube and Instagram are a raging hit. A man with absolute no political connections or lineage, has in recent times risen on social media sites in Kashmir Valley.A cross between social media stars Dhinchak Pooja and Pummy Aunty, Kalal seems to have a unique style often speaking with a nasal feminine voice, occasionally his head wrapped in a towel. The man claims to be famous in Pakistan and Bangladesh but says he is yet to be discovered in India. His viewership even got him a call from the makers of Bigg Boss who wanted him to audition but he claims to have turned down the offer.
Kalal’s USP is that he has, through some of his controversial, some outrageous videos managed to tickle the funny bone of Kashmiris, endearing himself to the masses. A tenth pass, Kalal did a short hotel management course from a Bandra college which got him a job as a receptionist in Mumbai’s three star hotel.
On phone Kalal says “I am not an anti-national. I believe the solution of Kashmir lies in peace.” He is candid in saying that he is not aware of history or politics of India or Kashmir. “I feel the gun or violence cannot be a solution.”
Some of his other videos feature Dal Lake with him dressed like a Kashmiri woman. The video has more than 50,000 views. Some of his videos deleted by a mischief maker had as many as 2 lakh views. His fan following seems to have increased since he started uploading his videos on Instagram under the handle deepakkalalofficial. The comments are filled with people praising him.
Deepak an ordinary tourist has become a local celebrity of sorts. His forte, however is that while many may not venture into militancy affected area, Kalal seems to be visiting areas of Pulwama and Shopian in South Kashmir besides well known tourist destination.
“The people of Kashmir like me, sometimes when they see me, I can see their affection. There is even a ruckus when I go into the area,” Kalal told India Today. “I don’t feel threatened by militants. I am just a messenger of peace,” he said.
A Kashmir based website has even made Kalal an ambassador of Kashmir.
But not everyone seems to be enjoying Kalal’s sense of humour. Many posts are distasteful and abusive towards Kalal. A man who wears sheer shirts and women dresses, he has been accused by his followers of being misogynist and disrespectful to women, a charge the self styled comedian denies.
Kalal who will be leaving Kashmir Valley in few days for the long winter spell, says he plans to come back after snowfall and perhaps pursue a career as a comedian in the valley he loves so much. “It is not just my love of valley but people’s affection which draws me back here,” Kala said.
Though he earns a meager sum from property owned in Goa and Maharashtra, he hopes to be able to make a livelihood in Kashmir in the future. (credit : indiatoday.intoday.in)