Crank up that creative juice
Meet Raunaq Mangottil and Anand Srinivasan, the men behind the Facebook pages ‘I am Madras’ and ‘Minimal Kollywood Posters’, and more famously, the website MangoJoos
On New Year’s Eve, Raunaq Mangottil and Anand Srinivasan were at a party, ready to ring in 2015. The previous year had been a big one for them; the boys had started more than one online venture, while balancing their day jobs, all of which were winning them fans with each passing day. As they kicked back, relaxed and engaged in conversation, a friend’s girlfriend brought up an article titled ‘What if every locality in Chennai had its own logo?’, which was going viral on the Internet. Raunaq shuffled his feet and looked shy, “I created that piece,” he said, by way of explanation, while Anand grinned sheepishly. And just like that, they’d met a new fan of their biggest digital venture, MangoJoos.
Raunaq and Anand have been friends since they studied together in Class IX. They went to the same engineering college, were placed in the same company and they quit their jobs to join the same digital marketing firm. All the while, they felt like they wanted to do more. “There was a latent need to start something,” says Raunaq, “We had certain needs that an ordinary job wouldn’t give us.”
In March 2014, Raunaq finally went ahead and started the Facebook page ‘I am Madras’, in an effort to “document the city”. He walked around with a camera in hand, photographing the city’s people and documenting their stories. He profiled Chennaiites — autos drivers, musicians, men who sold biryani, women who loved their independence — and recorded their opinions about life, and their feelings towards the city.
Currently, 9,042 people have ‘liked’ his page and look forward to his updates.
Their next big venture soon followed — MangoJoos — a website to showcase what becomes of all the creative juice from the country. While Raunaq created content for this site, Anand took care of business development. Given their background in social media and digital marketing, they knew how to promote their work, and suddenly, they were popular on Facebook. They were writing about creative individuals, interesting advertising campaigns, films and the movie industry, and much more. “The idea is to highlight any form of creativity in India. People can contribute their own content too,” explains Anand. “You can’t really predict what is going to go viral,” says Raunaq. Chennai-based content, however, they say, brings traffic. On a good month, they receive about two lakh hits. So far, they’ve received appreciation from other digital content creators, movie directors, people who create different types of art and those who trawl the Internet looking for interesting content. Having a review bar, where readers can rate the content, also let them constantly improve based on feedback.
It didn’t stop there, though. In October, the boys started the Facebook page ‘Minimal Kollywood Posters’. Hardly a year old, the page already has 14,302 likes, and has been appreciated by artistes from the film industry and by movie buffs.
There’s no great way to make money out of any of this, the boys say, laughing. But that’s the next step, says Anand, and reveals that they’ve quit their day jobs to start work on a new online venture, which is currently under wraps. Here are two Chennai boys who’ve found ways to work with the Internet, and how!