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Gone In 60 Seconds: The Funniest Reel Artists of 2021

By Rohan Krishnan 29 December 2021

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OMG your Instagram accent is so sexy, say it again. “…Reels.” Yeah, they’re the holy grail, the bees knees, the cherry-on-top. If you’re eloquent in social media-speak you’ll know that reels is the magic word, especially since the pandemic and the TikTok ban left artists and influencers with few other ways to connect with their audience.

Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t do without Reels and the people featured on this list absolutely thrive on them. Scroll through and have a look at some of the masters at work.

1. Niharika NM (@niharika_nm)

Niharika NM almost channels what Gen Z fondly call “crackhead energy” and we love that. What NM does best is break away from the picture-perfect, cooler-than-thou influencer mould (which she could totally pull off anyway) and hit us with a caricaturised south Indian persona who is equal parts agony aunt and boss-lady, but also undeniably sassy and funny. She averages a cool three million views per reel and is a superpower in this space.

2. Kusha Kapila (@kushakapila)

Kusha Kapila has been at the top of the social media game for a few years and now the influencer has perfected yet another way to flex on us with reels. Kapila uses the medium to channel rage in the form of minute-long rants and there’s definitely something cathartic about hearing your bestie rant on and on about anything and everything under the sun. In case you’re missing that long overdue rant while you’re hanging with your fam over the holidays, there’s no better fix than checking in with your “yaar” Kusha Kapila. Kapila’s reels will make you feel less like a follower and more like a close friend.

3. Srishti Dixit (@srishtipatch)

Take yourself too seriously? Need to loosen up? Take a leaf out of Srishti Dixit’s book. This social media pro breaks most reel formats with her unapologetically goofy antics (trust her to massacre the choreography of ALL Doja Cat songs) and light-hearted humour that will make even the staunchest of cynics crack a smile. Dixit also sprinkles some social commentary and workout content into her reels, but don’t worry, no heavy lifting.

4. Govind Menon (@thegovindmenon)

Govind Menon might’ve misunderstood the KISS principle, but to great effect. He keeps it simple and stupid, and the result is an endless feed of jokes. Who needs formats, musical cues, filters, fancy effects or transitions? Menon proves that all that’s required to make reliably funny reels is a premise and some creativity. It’s why he makes up what feels like over half of our “Reel Of The Day” section.

5. Rahul Rai (@therealrahulrai)

My girlfriend just asked me whose texts I’m smiling at. Turns out it’s just the infinitely charming Rahul Rai. Stop it. Just stop it, Rahul Rai. The actor’s keen eye for the subtlest of gender tropes helps him execute perfectly goofy 60-second satire. Whether it’s his “things women do that are fire emoji” or his (sadly) relatable “simp chronicles”, Rai just… gets it.

6. Aishwarya Mohanraj (@aishwaryamrj)

For someone who is now finally dating, Aishwarya Mohanraj still manages to radiate a serious single AF vibe. And whether or not you’re in love, you’ll do a #HARDrelate to all the cringe problems the comedian satirises in her reels. Have fun (and sometimes hide your face in shame) giggling over your past and present self while you race through Mohanraj’s one-minuters.

7. Shibani Bedi (@shibani_bedi)

So you’re 20 and fed up. Want to know what life is like when you’re 30 and fed up? Let Shibani Bedi fill you in. The actor sums up every nagging aunty, every wedding quirk, every office party disaster and everything wrong with life in your 30s in under 60 seconds.

8. Rahul Subramanian (@rahulsubramanic)

If there’s anyone who refuses to sway to the algo-rhythm, it’s Rahul Subramanian. Subramanian’s reels are for anyone who is tired of the format and just wants to see someone take a big ol’ dump on IG’s most devilish creation. The comedian pokes fun at all the crazy things people will do for the ‘gram and the all-seeing algorithm. He’s also used the remix option to make some great reaction videos.

9. Supriya Joshi (@supaarwoman)

Tired of trudging through the barren, meaningless reel-scape which seems to go on till the very edge of the universe? Take a detour and drop by Supriya Joshi’s IG haven, where you can wade through wholesome content you absolutely need to refuel for your travels. Supaarwoman’s reels are warm and positively life affirming, all while being downright funny. PS: A treasure trove for the introvert.

10. Arun Singh (@thejhumroo)

Journalist Arun Singh’s reels feed is an extensive portfolio of ‘Indian Uncles In Desi Parks” jokes, so you can finally leave the tired “uncles doing laughter yoga” joke back in 2021. Singh also covers Punjabi dad gimmicks and makes his non-Punjabi friends decode the lyrics to Punjabi songs. Fun times.

11. Naveen Richard (@naveen.richard)

Naveen Richard’s reels really shouldn’t make this list, its sacrilege. They’re almost all ads nowadays. There’s no way we should be allowing this. But they’re so goddamn funny and it can’t be helped. Now where’s the nearest Nippon Paints Weatherbond Pro shop? #NotAnAd

12. Sakshi Shivdasani (@sakshishivdasani)

Sakshi’s reels are a masterclass in how to test your boyfriend’s patience to its very limit while simultaneously making him fall for you. The way Shivdasani’s deadpan narration contrasts with her get-out-of-my-face attitude makes her reels particularly fun to binge.

13. Nirmal Pillai (@mahlyf_mahrulez)

Nirmal Pillai’s reels could be lazily described as an ode to #JustMalluThings. But the Malayali’s Chennai upbringing gives him a unique perspective with which he makes hilariously accurate observations about the two cultures. He’s also surprisingly efficient with his props, which are usually just a packet of biscuits or an empty mosquito repellent cartridge. And characters? He just sticks an A4 sheet of paper with the character’s name or occupation on his t-shirt.

14. Saloni Gaur (@salonayyy)

We came for Saloni Gaur but we stayed for Nanu, Kangana Runout, TV Serial Bahu, Desi Mom and all the other characters in the Salonyy Cinematic Universe. The comedian is one of the most prolific reel makers and is always on top of the trends. Whether it’s the headlines, Bollywood gossip or sports, you can bet Gaur has made a reel of it.

15. Saurabh Ghadge (@saurabhghadge_vines)

Every time I watch a Saurabh Ghadge reel I catch myself reminiscing about the good ol’ days with my chaddi-buddies. How does he do it? Where is this Big Book Of Relatability from which he makes his reels? Ghadge is so comfortable with the Reel that it really does seem like he has been making a living out of short format video ever since Vines came out.

16. Vishnu Kaushal (@thevishnukaushal)

Vishnu Kaushal’s reels prove that he is a seasoned veteran now, as he seamlessly bridges the gap between Canadian NRIs and Punjabi Dads, desi boys and South Delhi brats. In this way, the “25 Under 25” Indian Instagrammer adeptly makes reels that are oodles of fun for the whole family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rohan Krishnan

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