Meet the ‘Instagram viners’ who are taking over Kerala’s cyberspace
The Vine app had a premature death before it could sink its roots in the state. Kerala’s Facebook pages were busy trolling youngsters preparing for competitive exams when 24-year-olds Amal M T and Sebastian P V turned the joke on Malayalis themselves; quite literally. Fast becoming popular on Instagram under their handles @thaha_thug (33k followers) and @sebootty (31k followers), the Kottayam-based duo pairs up to create mini-skits aka bits broken off from the “Wi-Fi exploiting” millennial Malayali life.
“At home preparing for our GATE and CA exams we followed viners including King Bach and Rudy Mancuso. When Vine (app) died suddenly, we started thinking about how would it look if the content was created in a Malayali context,” says Amal. Propelled to fame by pages like Ente Kottayam, these Instagrammers have already caught the eyes of actors like Vishnu Govindhan and Srinath Bhasi.
Dubsmash was the platform that fetched the duo reviews encouraging them to start shooting original vines. Comical observations—shot on mobile phones rather than high-end cameras—like the state of Kerala Blasters fans and the effects of having spicy shaap food, make their profiles a destination for a laugh riot.
Proving that glocal is the way to go, Kottayam slang and social life are placed in humorous juxtaposition with Western subculture like hip-hop. “Internet is full of people who lose their temper over memes that attack religious intolerance. Being from Kottayam where people from multiple backgrounds coexist in harmony, we don’t even feel threatened to post jibes addressing religious fundamentalism,” says Sebootty, whose recent upload draws parallels between various extremists in the light of the heinous rape and murder in Kashmir.
Posting two videos across the profiles in four days, they also drop occasional gems which take subtle swings at internet realities like creeps who stalk women online. “We also want to address the society’s
homophobic tendency and approach LGBTQ issues by trying to normalise these sexual orientations,” the duo pitches in, breaking the notion that today’s generation is not socially responsive.Amused by their videos, the organisers of Ragam fest at IIM Kozhikode also recently gave them a platform for their debut Malayalam stand-up performance.
Not at all hesitant to crossdress for roles, Amal and Sebastian share that initially, it was difficult to find Malayali women to collaborate with. Saying that stalkers are a problem women viners cite, they still managed to do multiple productions Krishnaveni (@_born_savage_). Two other faces who frequent their profiles are that of Florida-based NRIs Abhirami Krishnan (@olakkasmood) and Devendu Biju (@devbootty).