There was a time when he was a top-rated actor. Through his work in dramas and movies, his name had spread far and wide. Now, even though he is rarely in dramas anymore, he is nonetheless present in people's lives through Facebook and YouTube. That is however a different story altogether.
Adnan Faruque Hillol has gone from being an actor to becoming a YouTuber. He is a regular food vlogger on YouTube and has become popular not only among Bangalees around the world, but also among people from different regions.
So what led him to becoming a food vlogger?
"I have acted in countless dramas in my life. I went, I acted, and I came back with some money. But I did not have the intellectual rights to those works. At one point I thought I would have to do something that would create my own identity and I would have the rights to all the work," said Hillol to The Business Standard in a recent interview, adding, "Thinking about all this, I decided to start food vlogging. I enjoy eating and thus, it all led to this."
He started his endeavour in 2017. Hillol had an old DSLR camera with which he recorded four episodes at one go for his YouTube channel called 'Adnan Faruque.' He later published these videos throughout the year. His program 'Dine out with Hillol' has garnered wide appreciation among the audiences.
As he uploaded the videos, Hillol noticed that YouTube did not have many food vlogging videos in Bangla. Only a handful of people were doing it from abroad. As a result, Hillol's videos started gaining views and this bumped his interest. Later in 2018, he took up food vlogging more seriously.
"Now, when I am abroad, people come and talk to me because they recognise me. I've been acting in dramas for so long, but no one really recognised me back then. People from West Bengal have started to take interest in my content. They leave nice comments for me on YouTube and it motivates me."
Adnan Faruque also realised that when he first started his channel, not many people in India were food vlogging either. He then thought of making videos in India from where he received the most views.
"While I was there, I met a blogger named Shaumya. He and I made about 20-22 videos together. When I started uploading, we both started gaining subscribers. Now I make videos in Bangladesh and abroad almost equally," he added.
Hillol's channel, Dine with Hillol, has more than seven lakh subscribers and his videos get over a million views. Even though he did not get sponsors when he initially started, he does get them now. He gets contacted by various companies almost regularly.
"My income has increased ever since I have started my channel, but more importantly I have more creative freedom now," said Hillol.
"When I was acting, I had to worry about the financial uncertainty of the coming months. I was not sure about how many days I would shoot and how much money I would make. But now, my income depends on the number of videos on my channel. If I need more money next month, I can increase the number of videos I publish. It is my own channel, I have absolute freedom and I don't have to turn to anyone for money."
The star has been avidly enjoying his life as an online food vlogger. As he explained, "I once visited a popular restaurant in Hyderabad. There, I got acquainted with the owner of the establishment. But after I finished my meal, he would not let me pay. So, we made a deal. If he were to visit Bangladesh one day, I would treat him to a meal."
Recently, a popular food blogger, Mir Afsar Ali (Foodka), from West Bengal came to Bangladesh at Hillol's invitation. They explored different types of food in the country. Similarly, Hillol was invited to India before Eid. He enjoyed exploring and vlogging about his food experiences there.
However, even after a successful food vlogging career, Hillol has not completely given up on acting. He has recently starred in a drama on BTV. He still tries to act whenever he gets the opportunity.