Palakkad-based Firoz Punnamparambil crowdsources funds for life-saving surgeries and medical procedures, to help those who cannot afford them.

collage of Riyaz Khan and Firoz
news Social Media Friday, November 06, 2020 - 20:27

“In 17 hours, you have donated Rs 3 crore, 45 lakhs, 391 and 45 paise for Vasanthi chechi’s tooth extraction surgery. Thanks to everyone who helped and cooperated,” reads a poster, with a picture of Malayalam actor Riyaz Khan wearing a white shirt and veshti on the side. The poster, which resembles a political banner, is Riyaz Khan’s latest film — Mayakottaram — which is reportedly on the altruists and social workers in Kerala. The film’s poster reads ‘Nanmamaram (tree of goodness), Suresh Kodaliparamban’, which is the name of the character that Riyaz will play.

However, within 24 hours of Mayakottaram’s first-look poster releasing online, social media users in the state started trolling the poster. They began drawing comparisons to a Kerala social worker, Firoz Kunnumparambil, who is known for crowdfunding to support patients who cannot afford life-saving surgeries. Incidentally, Firoz is often referred to as Nanmamaram or tree of goodness by his followers.

Firoz has often helped raise crores of rupees for patients who come to him seeking financial support. However, the social worker has also created controversy several times, once for calling a woman a ‘prostitute’ in one of his Facebook videos. 

Going by the poster, the film seems to be based on online scams in the name of charity. A slew of memes, inspired by the poster, started surfacing on social media soon after the poster released. Memes with Nanmamaram began appearing on social media. One of them read ‘Nanmamaram: This is referring, this is definitely referring to me, this is only referring to me (ithu enne udishichaanu, enne thanne udeshichanu, enne mathram uddeshichanu). This is a popular movie dialogue by actor Jagathy Sreekumar in CID Moosa.

While the meme saw several social media users commenting in support of Firoz, some even criticised the social worker. 

“He goes to people’s houses and resolves their problems. Can you touch your heart and say that you have helped anybody in this lifetime? What right do you have to troll our Firoz,” asked one social media user, directing his question at the makers of the meme. 

Criticising Firoz, another user wrote a snarky comment: “The sponsor money for 25 houses may be missing, but Firoz will build houses for five people. To those who cannot see Firoz’s goodness, let his anger and pain not reach you guys.” 

Meanwhile, actor Riyaz, too, shared the same meme on his social media pages, with the caption “Suresh Kodaliparamaban, the warlord of the poor from Mayakottaram.” He also added that the trolls did not bother him.

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