After years of YouTube fame for his online confessionals and sketches, Jasmeet Raina – the Guelph, Ontario-born Punjabi Sikh millennial formerly known as Jus Reign – wanted a new creative challenge.
So, with nearly a million subscribers to his name, Raina went completely dark in 2018, leaving Reddit users and YouTube commenters on their own. speculate for years to find out where he was.
Six years later, he returned to the forefront with Late flowering, an eight-part Crave series loosely based on his own experiences trying to become a 21st century content creator in a religious family. The show will be presented on Friday.
“I felt like maybe the internet wasn’t the best place — or YouTube wasn’t the best place — to tell this story,” Raina told CBC News in an interview, explaining why he suddenly left the network and went online. the fame behind it.
“The Internet can be a pretty wild, hectic, demanding and generous place,” he added. He wanted to make a show that explored the deeper elements of a young South Asian’s life, “so for me to be able to do that, I had to () set aside that time to be able to focus on that.”
“I don’t consider the Internet to be a bad thing”
Late flowering stars Raina as Jasmeet Dutta, a young content creator and medical school dropout whose comedic web videos are made from the basement of his immigrant parents’ house in suburban Toronto.
Jasmeet helps his family run their tiffin (home-cooked meals) service, but his real ambitions for success – to go viral – are completely, humorously, at odds with what his parents imagine for him. They present his sister’s fiancé, a prolific real estate agent, as their ideal of what a man should be.
“There is a generational difference between what success means to different people,” Raina said. “Especially if you come from a different culture or background, you have your own interpretation of what that success will be.”
For the fictional Jasmeet, this generational clash manifests itself in nightmarish dream sequences.
He buys his father a yellow sports car, only to get yelled at for making the family look like they’re showing off; or he imagines his nude photos being leaked from his laptop, garnering coverage on Punjabi news channels and disgracing his parents.
“As an immigrant kid growing up in this world…there’s always conflicting ideas in your head and conflicting points of view. They’re always kind of opposing each other,” he explained .
“You’re really trying to figure out what you are. And so that level of pressure, that level of expectation can kind of harbor or propel more of that anxiety.”
Raina says he wanted to explore mental health issues from the perspective of a creator who struggles with fear of the unknown and expects things to go wrong in a hundred different ways. “I think naturally, as a person, my brain tends to do that,” he said.
But his approach to posting online – and his own relationship to the internet – has changed dramatically since he started making videos at age 19.
“I don’t see the Internet as a bad thing or something we should avoid at all costs,” said Raina, now in her 30s. “But I think it’s just about having a healthy relationship with him.
“You don’t need to dream with anxiety thinking that you will become useless or that people (will) forget you. And even if they do, who cares, who cares?
“There’s still life to live, you know? It doesn’t really matter.”