Quirky videos going viral is not a new phenomenon. But a village man in Tamil Nadu, who has travelled the farthest ever to neighbouring Kerala, is breaking social media norms and the very definition of ‘being famous’.
Jaymukh Gopinath, a simple old man from a quaint village in Tamil Nadu, is now a You Tube sensation. His son, Arumugam, an amateur filmmaker, has made his father’s latest video titled ‘KING of CHICKEN LEGS / Using 100 Chicken Legs / Prepared by my Daddy’, garner more than sixteen million views. That’s about sixteen times the population of the Theni district, in Tamil Nadu, where the duo lives.
So, what is the modus operendi?
Nothing much. The old man, attired in a shirt and ‘lungi’ (a sarong), cooks 100 leg pieces on a slow fire, with very basic equipment.
He mixes the spices, chicken, yoghurt and cooks on a rusted wok over a fire built from hunks of bark. The setting is a typical village one, with dogs barking in the background. Once the stew is ready, he devours it; enjoying his meal with contentment.
Jaymukh, who is sixty-two, learned to cook while working decades ago as a door-to-door fabric salesman. He started his own eatery, after fellow villagers prompted him to do so.
Arumugam and Jaymukh’s first video, which was posted on YouTube on July 24, 2016, shows Jaymukh cooking crabs. This garnered a modest 15 views but word of mouth made him an overnight sensation.
In just two years, according to Arumugam, his channel, Village Food Factory, has attracted close to two million YouTube subscribers and has earned the family more than seven million rupees, in advertising revenue.
The Village Food Factory releases a new video every three to four days and is now a family affair. Arumugam’s mother as well as his wife, Pragathi, prep the ingredients while his younger brother, Manikandan, assists with the cooking.
He has a massive fan following and people around the world watch his videos.
One Canadian woman sent a letter asking for an autographed picture of Jaymukh; her late husband, Arumugam said, “used to sit and watch the videos on his desktop for hours on end.”