When the pandemic forced the world to come to a standstill, these people went viral with their works — Kerala Police, Ajmal Sabu, Sai Swetha, Kaarthik Shankar and Arya Dhayal. Here’s how:
When the men in khakhi grooved
In mid-March, when the lockdown was announced to control the spread of COVID-19, Kerala Police got busy creating awareness about the pandemic through videos, trolls and memes. The best of the lot was a hand-washing video by the State Police Media Centre, which had six policemen in their uniforms dancing to the song ‘Kalakkatha’ from Ayyappanum Koshiyum. The 1.25-second video grabbed attention from international media as well, including the BBC, Reuters and AFP, besides channels in the US, Russia, the UK, China, Italy and the Netherlands. It was even shown on an LED wall at one of the tube stations in London. Another popular video was ‘Break the Chain’, made by the Kerala Police Social Media Cell, which was inspired by a scene from the blockbuster Mohanlal-starrer Lucifer.
This editor-cinematographer is a master when it comes to making mash-up videos as proved by the videos uploaded on his YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages. He nailed it with a video featuring Donald Trump supposedly crooning a Mappilapattu (traditional folk song of the Muslim community in Kerala). The former American President’s speech at the ‘Namaste Trump’ event in Gujarat was replaced with the lines of a cinematic version of a popular Mappila song, ‘Aminathathede ponnumolanu’, sung by actor-director Lal in the film, Honey Bee 2.5. Another video that went viral was the character of Baahubali ‘singing’ Cadbury Dairy Milk’s iconic jingle ‘Kiss me’. Other videos to look out for are of American wrestler and WWE superstar Big Show and WWE’s chief branding officer Stephanie McMahon supposedly mouthing the dialogues from an iconic scene in the Malayalam movie Manichithrathazhu and a scene from Guardians of Galaxy with dialogues from Aniyathipravu.
When schools reopened virtually on June 1, it was Sai Swetha who stole the show. This primary school teacher from Kozhikode led the classes for class one students on the Kerala Government’s KITE Victers channel and the way she introduced the tiny tots to two cats, Thangu and Mittu, went viral. Although she was trolled initially, Swetha received support and appreciation from people of all ages and different walks of life for her teaching method. A dancer and Tik Tok star, she remained unfazed in the face of cyber bullying and soon became the talk of the town.
Short films have been Kaarthik Shankar’s forte for many years. But when lockdown forced him to stay at home, he made videos featuring his mother, Kaladevi, father Nooranad Jayan, and his uncle, MS Raja. The episode that featured Kaarthik’s misadventures in the kitchen became so popular that he came up with more videos. The mom-son duo is much loved for their on-screen squabbles. Actor-producer Aju Varghese collaborated with Kaarthik for a segment as well. Besides the Mom & Son series, Kaarthik also has a new series, Cool Drinks on his YouTube page [Kaarthik Shankar] that has over one million subscribers.
Rise of a star
“You have brightened my day in the hospital like never before…” That Facebook message from Amitabh Bachchan changed the life of singer Arya Dhayal. He was referring to how she seamlessly blended Suddha Dhanyasi raga with Ed Sheeran’s colossal hit, ‘Shape of you’. She just exploded on social media with her singing and strumming on the ukulele, as she swapped genres with ease. What started as a lockdown exercise turned out to be a game changer for the musician. She is followed by the who’s who of the Indian music and film industry. Recently she released an English single, ‘King of My Kind’, and did her first live show in Munnar and is all set to collaborate with leading musicians.