He sounds like actor Chemban Vinod. She could be a grandmother you have met somewhere or the one back home. If news of their fame had not come out, you'd have thought that the Chemban-like grandson placed a camera in the house without telling his grandmother. Mary Joseph Mampilly is that natural in the short Tik Tok videos that her grandson Jinson has been shooting, and they are slowly getting noticed. Now, grandma is going to act in a movie!
Film editor Binshad Nazer, who is directing his first film called Sundaran Subash saw the Tik Tok videos that Jinson from North Paravur has been religiously uploading, and liked the nice old granny, with her bucktooth smile and easy solutions to life problems. "In the movie, we have a character we call Ammumma, a 90-year-old on whom the story is based. We were planning to cast someone from the industry but on seeing these videos, we decided it should be her. The videos have a certain quality," says Binshad.
Mary will be playing a full-fledged role in the film while Jinson, too, has a small part to play.
"It is a realistic love story set in a village. Devan Subramaniam has written the script. Nideesh Krishnan, whose dubsmash (app that lets you lip sync to movie lines or songs) videos we found impressive, is playing the male lead," Binshad says.
Jinson says Ammama (grandmom) is very happy about this role she's got. She is 85 now, when her talents, hidden for so long, are slowly coming out.
"Maybe she's always had it in her and no one knew it. She was always game for the videos we shot, no stage fear, no shyness of a first-timer. At first we did dubsmash videos - she, my brother, and I. Then we thought it could be our own lines that we speak. It could be the jokes that are popular in our village. Or it could be something preachy," Jinson says.
The preachy videos end with a small voice-over by Jinson (still very Chemban-like), when he concludes Ammama is right about something. In less than a minute, a message is conveyed without a lot of drama or exaggeration that you might expect from amateurs.
So, when Jinson slaps a young woman - acting as his sister - for looking at a bearded, long-haired man, Ammama stops him and says, so what if there is beard and long hair, he could be nice. At the end of the video, Jinson says the young woman got married to the guy and he was nice, like Ammama said, and Jinson is going back to his old life of simply hanging out with his friends in the kavala (junction).
In another video, Jinson tells his friend why he wouldn't stop making these videos even when some people call it 'chali' (poor joke). "A teenage girl, half paralysed, said she feels she is running around us when she watches my grandma and me, a chechi (older woman) in Thrissur said the residents of the old age home she stays in would play our videos in a projector and feel good about it. They are not fans, they are all her grandchildren."
But Jinson may soon have to leave home and go away for work, to Qatar where a new job awaits him. It is during the vacation he took after a few years of working in Abu Dhabi that Jinson discovered the creative side of his grandmother. Now he is confused about leaving it all behind again.
Their videos are put up on YouTube in the name Ammamayude Kochumon (Grandmom's grandson).