Life & Style

Home videos made by Sharjah-based Arjun Doney Varghese and Tara Susan George have made them popular

Arjun Doney Varghese and Tara Susan George with their daughters Sarah and Maria   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

 

Two minutes are all it took for Sharjah businessman Arjun Doney Varghese and his family to become well-known on Instagram. His crisp home videos of everyday life have made celebrities of Arjun, his wife, Tara Susan George, and their daughters Sarah and Maria. “I had shared a video of ours in our family group and everyone enjoyed it.It was based on a real incident when Tara and I attempted to do the Harlem Shake (meme). After that we started posting two videos every week since May,” says Arjun in a Zoom call from Sharjah.

 

During the lockdown in May, Arjun, a certified personal trainer, decided to make videos on fitness. After picking up the basics from YouTube tutorials, he downloaded Filmora9 and made a couple of videos for practice. “But it did not gain much traction and my well-wishers told me that the videos needed to be smarter. SoI began with home videos for practice and that is how our first one, a kind of horror story with a twist, was shot and posted in May,” explains Arjun. With Arjun scripting, directing, shooting and acting and Tara helping him with fine-tuning the script, the entire family has now got into the act with Sarah being the best actor. “Sarah is very good with expressions and comes up with one good ones during the shooting. Arjun’s parents, Jolly Varghese and Doney Varghese, live in the same building as ours and so they were also roped in to be in the videos,” says Tara.

Arjun Doney Varghese and Tara Susan George with their daughters Sarah and Maria

Arjun Doney Varghese and Tara Susan George with their daughters Sarah and Maria   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Tara says with a laugh that most of the videos are based on real-life incidents that have been exaggerated a bit. Like the one where Tara is posting photos on social media and keeps asking Arjun for his opinion. When he finally does come up with some candid observations, Tara does a take on the famous scene in Manichitrathazhu when Ganga’s identity crisis comes to the fore.

The dialogues in Malayalam and English, and Malayali cultural references make it popular with expats in West Asia. “Since it has subtitles, our non-Malayali friends have also told us that they enjoy watching it. We did not want to make all the dialogues in English because it would have looked artificial,” says Tara.

In fact, the attraction of the videos is the way the episodes focus on incidents that are likely to be common in most households. “Sometimes, we don’t even realise something is funny till we look back on it and then burst out laughing,” says Arjun.

Arjun Doney Varghese and Tara Susan George with their daughters Sarah and Maria

Arjun Doney Varghese and Tara Susan George with their daughters Sarah and Maria   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

For instance, there is one video that has Arjun’s mum, Jolly, speaking in Hindi-Malayalam to tell her domestic help how happy she was that actor Nyla Usha had shared an Insta video featuring the family. The help’s expression is picturesque as she listens to Jolly’s Hindi! Turning that moment into an Insta video won Arjun 11,627 views.

“We were really excited when a friend told us that Nyla Usha had shared a post of ours. The number of views on our handle really went up after that,” says Tara.

Both Arjun and Tara are naturally thrilled about the unexpected success of their posts. What began as a lockdown activity has become a fun way to document their daily life.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 10:41:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/a-family-tastes-fame-through-homemade-videos/article32466403.ece

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