When a selfie is not enough: Here come velfies

Liziwe Ndalana demonstrates how to take a selfie. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Liziwe Ndalana demonstrates how to take a selfie. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Mumbai - Move over selfie, India is embracing the "velfie" with Bollywood stars, sporting heroes and even politicians taking and posting videos of themselves online using a range of new mobile apps.

From lip-synching famous movie scenes and quizzing political leaders to interviewing job candidates, Indian tech firms are betting on the latest craze to grip social media - the video selfie.

"2014 was about selfies... 2015 is for #velfies!" screams the blurb for Velfie, a smartphone app similar to Dubsmash where users mime songs or quotes to pre-recorded audio before posting the clips on social networks.

German-developed Dubsmash has rapidly become a global phenomenon since its launch in November and has been downloaded more than 50 million times across 192 countries, according to its website.

The global craze is sweeping the Indian film industry, with numerous stars entertaining legions of loyal fans with dubbed videos which are uploaded to popular sharing platforms Facebook and Instagram.

Revenue

Actors Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha and Richa Chadda are just some of the Bollywood stars to have embraced it, lip-synching everything from Hindi film dialogue to lyrics from Western songs.

A short clip of Khan and Sinha miming lines from a 1971 Indian movie has been liked more than 71 000 times on Instagram, while hundreds approved of Chadda's turn from controversial American hip-hop song Baby Got Back.

Rammohan Sundaram, co-founder of India's Velfie, which was launched in April, said videos were a more entertaining way for Bollywood royalty and other celebrities to engage with their audiences.

"A selfie is only one picture but a 'velfie' can speak of emotions that you just can't render in a single photo," Sundaram said.

"Selfies will remain because pictures will always be there but we're creating a whole new space that's more exciting, more engaging and more social in nature," he added.

Sundaram said Velfie plans to expand to become a "video social network" in the coming months, essentially a Twitter-like timeline consisting solely of video selfies.

Users will also be able to live-stream on the platform and Sundaram hopes brands will use it to advertise, generating revenue.

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