An Orry-ginal brand story

Mystery, authenticity and provocation: A masterclass in personal branding from the boy genius himself

by Tanzila Sheikh Sandhya Raghavan
Published - December 01, 2023
8 minutes To Read
An Orry-ginal brand story

“Not another Orry article!” one may say, fatigued by the hype around India’s newest It boy. But love it or hate it, Orry is the flavour of the season and looks like he’s here to stay…at least till the internet finds a new fixation.

Luckily, this is not a column discussing “Who is Orry?” or “What does Orry do?” Let’s leave that to the gossip mags. This article is, in fact, a deep dive into the great brand story that is Orry Aka Orhan Awatramani.

Sometime last year, there was a growing curiosity about a diminutive young man seen hobnobbing with the Bollywood “nepo” circles.

A permanent fixture in all their pictures, the internet wondered aloud about the identity of this mysterious figure with perfectly coiffed hair and manscaped facial hair.

Film websites soon dubbed him as the BFF to the Bollywood stars, hanging out with the likes of Suhana Khan, Ananya Panday, Nysa Devgn and Jahnavi Kapoor.

Conversations around the mysterious figure reached a fever pitch when the young socialite appeared in every celebrity photo at the Reliance Jio World Plaza opening earlier this month posing in what has been since dubbed as the “Orry pose.”

There was also a great deal of mystery about what he does for a living. Some said he has a rich daddy. Others claimed he’s on the Reliance payroll, working for Isha Ambani’s fashion vertical Ajio. In his own words, he is a “liver,” a self-improvement guru working on himself every day.

Irrespective of where Orry’s true vocation may lie, even his biggest detractors may be forced to admit that he may be one of the greatest marketing geniuses of the recent age. 

“The way he has rolled out his personal brand and shot up to fame in such a short window is basically an influencer dream,” says Devarshi Shah, SVP Influencer marketing division at OML Entertainment. 

With endorsement deals from CRED and Netflix in his kitty, Orry seems to be embracing his newfound fame and all the perks that come with it. 

Here are 6 rules from Orry’s guide to fame.

Famous for being famous

Orry isn’t the first person in the world who is “famous for being famous”. Paris Hilton did it in the 2000s and Kim Kardashian in the 2010s. Taking a leaf from their playbook (sans the sex tapes), he managed to gain fame by getting clicked alongside popular Bollywood stars at high-profile events, automatically positioning him in the same league as celebs.

He has crafted for himself an image of a rich and carefree bloke living the high life.

“Another interesting thing he’s actively working on is creating signature moves. Whether it's his cool phone covers or those iconic pics with celebrities, he's all about leaving his mark. It's smart –signatures stick in people’s minds and create recognition and remembrance; so many popular celebrities and content creators in India and abroad play this game too,” notes Shah.

Building mystery

The Orry phenomenon may have reached frenzied levels today, but there was a lot of curiosity surrounding the young man’s identity for over a year. Whether it’s a careful PR move or plain fluke, Orry never bothered to address it personally when first whispers started emerging. Instead, he kept the momentum going, allowing people to build into his lore and mystery.

“My guess is that he has appointed a phenomenal PR and social media team to ensure his 'just-right' provocative responses are heavily seeded online to further build on the mystery around him, his connects with the Indian film fraternity and most importantly his profession,” says Shah.

Being authentic

What makes Brand Orry particularly charming is his commitment to being his authentic self. After being low-key for a year, the celebutant didn’t exactly burst into the limelight, waxing eloquent about the future of artificial intelligence or about the impact of climate change on global economies.

In fact, one of his earliest podcast appearances had him discussing frivolous topics such as “garam” massage and CCI gym. By refusing to put on a show and being his true self, Orry endeared himself to the audience and built a brand centred on authenticity.

“Audiences crave authenticity in content. Being himself is what Orry is doing right,” said Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, Global CEO and co-founder, GOZOOP Group.

Being provocative

Hate him, love him, but you can’t ignore him. Orry’s personal brand is quite provocative which ensures he gets all the attention, even if it’s served with a side of snark.

His statements so far have all been dramatic, inviting shocked responses from the audience. “People on the internet absolutely enjoy drama and Orry's serving it up just right. His statements such as “I work on myself” or “I am a liver” resonate hard with today’s netizens, grabbing attention and resulting in high reach and shares. Orry in his communications has kept a right balance of provocation and humour that gets him the eyeballs,” points out Shah.

Projecting a clean, premium image

There’s a thin line between becoming an internet LOLcow and a successful celebrity. Orry’s brilliant PR game (if there is one) ensured that he didn’t tip over to the LOLcow side. He achieved that in part by projecting an image of premium-ness.

Unlike some other “famous for being famous” Indian celebs, Orry has an aspirational air about him, even when he’s being laughed at. There is a prevailing sense of envy among his trolls who also wish to rub shoulders with the rich and the famous, sipping chardonnay with Bollywood BFFs. His now famous monologue on “working hard on himself” went on to bolster his coming-from-wealth image.

At this point, it’s immaterial whether he is rich or not. He looks the part, and that’s enough.

“Orry has kept his image clean, non-controversial, affable and premium, which ticks all the right boxes for a brand that is trying to speak basis its brand fit parameters,” says Shah.

Embracing criticism

There are countless Orry memes on the internet. Comment sections on Instagram are rife with jibes and homophobic comments. But we have yet to hear him tearfully ranting on Instagram about being trolled and bullied. So far, he is enjoying his fame, taking every bit of criticism on his chin. He is perhaps smart enough to know that there’s a huge payoff waiting at the end of all the trolling. So he’s playing the long waiting game.

If he sustains the momentum correctly, Brand Orry has huge potential for endorsement deals, maybe also a plum movie role or a seat in an episode of 'Koffee With Karan'. It all boils down to how he plays his cards from now on. Naysayers are aplenty. 

An industry expert from a leading fashio

Pooh-poohing the Orry effect, Vaibhav Gupta, Co-Founder and CPO, KlugKlug, believes that the socialite’s fame is just a trend and nothing more. “It’s a very short-term PR exercise but the majority of the sentiments around him are neutral to negative. It will grab attention in the short term and brands are just trying to cash in on the trend.”

"A few days down the line, he would get into some controversy and brands wouldn't want to associate themselves with him. What he is doing right, from a marketing perspective, it is a short-term play," says an industry insider.

Only time can tell whether Orry will turn out to be the “Lambi race ka ghoda.” According to Shah, he absolutely will if he plays his cards right.

“Orry is the GenZ Indian Kimmification (like Kim K). In the initial years, there is no actual individual relevance, it was all largely gained by association with relevant personalities and being in the right circles. But this can totally be cultivated into a legit brand if leveraged smartly and urgently,” he says.

n retail company on whether Orry will be able to sustain and attract brands in the future, he said it is very unlikely. "What is unique about Orry? Is he credible enough to follow suggestions? Can he influence? His strategy of being famous and getting brand deals will not take him far, he has to develop a niche. In the world of digital media, virality is a matter of time, we've seen many viral sensations come and go, now where are they? What always stays is the consistency of quality content."