Rahul Vohra, Indian Actor and Video Blogger, Dies at 35

His YouTube posts dissected issues of Indian life, especially gender inequality. He died of complications of Covid-19 after lamenting his hospital treatment.

Rahul Vohra, one of India’s most popular YouTube stars. The day before he died, he wrote on his Facebook page, “I would have lived had I received better treatment.”
Credit...via Jyoti Tiwari

Rahul Vohra began his acting career in the theater and later worked in low-budget films and television ads. But he was fascinated by the role technology played in shaping conversations about society, so he turned to video blogging.

After he and Jyoti Tiwari married in December, she joined him in producing short, scripted videos in Hindi about issues like gender disparity, rising gas prices and the difficulties of working from home during the pandemic. Several have received more than 1 million views, and Mr. Vohra swiftly became one of India’s most popular YouTube stars.

In one video, titled “Story of a Woman,” he asks for a cup of tea from his wife, who is played by an actress and is seen lost in thought after a long day of housework.

“I am not a robot,” she says.

“You only stay at home; what else do you do?” Mr. Vohra asks. She challenges him to do household chores for a day, telling him that then he would understand what she had meant. After accepting the challenge, he’s soon seen struggling and tiring within hours.

“Even if I am sick, I had to do this work every day,” the wife says. “In reverse I ask for nothing, just a bit of respect and love.”

Mr. Vohra died of complications of Covid-19 on May 9 at a hospital in New Delhi, Ms. Tiwari said. He was 35.

He had fallen ill in New Delhi’s second wave of the pandemic, when much of the country’s health care system was overwhelmed. He found himself making desperate calls to his wife from his hospital bed, telling her that he feared he would die. She called the hospital for help but received little attention, she said. He was eventually moved to another hospital and died there.

His videos struck a chord with young and middle-class Indians. “There was something about him which touched the lives of people,” a friend, Ankur Seth, said. “He spread positivity around even in dark times.”

Rahul Vohra was born into a middle-class family in New Delhi on Jan. 27, 1986. His father, Suresh Vohra, works in a manufacturing firm, and his mother, Bimla Vohra, is a homemaker. Along with his wife and parents, he is survived by a sister, Neeru Vohra.

Mr. Vohra received a degree in commerce from Delhi University. A talented performer from a young age, he was then offered a place at the prestigious Asmita Theater Group school in New Delhi.

Two days after he died, Ms. Tiwari, 29, a writer for YouTube videos, found on her husband’s phone a video of him struggling to breathe and complaining about the poor quality of medical care at the hospital where he had initially been admitted. She posted it on Instagram with the hashtag #justiceforirahulvohra.

“This is extremely valuable right now,” he said in the video, referring to his oxygen mask. “Without it patients get giddy and suffer.”

In another post the day before he died, on his Facebook page, he wrote, “I would have lived had I received better treatment.” He tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been severely criticized for his handling of the pandemic.

“My Rahul has left us, everyone knows that but, no one knows how he left us,” Ms. Tiwari wrote on Instagram. “I hope my husband will get justice.”