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PewDiePie started the fight, we didn’t: Bhushan Kumar on T-Series winning the race to 100m subscribers

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Guinness World Records handed over a certificate to T-Series today for the achievement.

Bhushan Kumar (second from left) with wife Divya Khosla Kumar, mother Sudesh Kumari, sister Khushali Kumar and Rishi Nath from Guinness World Records. Photograph: Shutterbugs Images

Keyur Seta

T-Series received a certificate from Guinness World Records today for becoming the first YouTube channel to get to 100 million subscribers.

Rishi Nath from the Guinness World Records team handed over the certificate to T-Series boss Bhushan Kumar at an event in Mumbai.

The T-Series YouTube channel reached the landmark of 100 million subscribers on 29 May 2019, leaving Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie, which had been the number one YouTube channel for a long time, in its wake. PewDiePie currently is at  96.5 million subscribers.

As T-Series closed in on PewDiePie, the company began a campaign called ‘Bharat for YouTube', where it got film industry personalities to urge common Indians to subscribe to T-Series on YouTube so that it could become the channel with the most subscribers.

Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie recently said his achievement is far bigger in scale since he is one man running a channel whereas T-Series is a large film and music production house. When this was pointed out to Bhushan Kumar, he said, “I also say the same thing. If you see or watch any of my recent interviews, I have been saying this was never a fight or a competition. He is a single YouTuber, we are a company.”

In September last year, with T-Series closing in on PewDiePie, Kjellberg posted a video mocking T-Series and India. Bhushan Kumar said this was what compelled his team to start the battle.

“We never started this fight or competition," the T-Series chief said. "He started it by saying wrong things about India and our company. So we started a subtle campaign, ‘Bharat wins YouTube’. Again, that was not competitive and we weren’t saying anything wrong about him. He is independently number one in mine and everyone’s eyes. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings. But he has [done that] and we can’t do anything about it.”

The video posted by PewDiePie mocking T-Series and India

Bhushan Kumar added that he got interested in breaking the record for most subscribers only when others started showing an interest in the race. “I was not into being number one. But when everybody started talking about it, then obviously the excitement level became big,” he said.

Bhushan Kumar credited the success to his father and company founder, the late Gulshan Kumar. “I have always maintained that this is all because of my father’s blessings. The way he has guided the company and the kind of music he had given to listeners. We are now making movies,” he said.

The T-Series boss marked out his father’s idea of creating devotional audio and videocassettes as probably his biggest achievement. “He made so much of devotional content," Bhushan Kumar said. "People hadn’t thought it would be available on cassettes. We only read aarti in books. He thought of turning it into cassettes for old people who can’t read.”