Meet social media’s trending mothers and children

Social media’s favourite mother-son/daughter pairs talk about collaborating for content, the bond they share and people’s love. May 12 is Mother’s Day 

Published - May 10, 2024 01:23 pm IST

Choreographer and content creator Biju Dhwani Tharang and his mother Shyamala Xavier

Choreographer and content creator Biju Dhwani Tharang and his mother Shyamala Xavier | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Shylaja Krishnan and Abhijith Radhakrishnan are not your usual mother-son duo. They upend most mother-son tropes in mainstream media. Shylaja, a homemaker, does not labour under the burden of being the perfect mom; she pulls her son’s leg every so often and is always ready to tackle Abhijith’s equally humorous repartee. 

Content creator Abhijith Radhakrishnan with his mother Shylaja Krishnan

Content creator Abhijith Radhakrishnan with his mother Shylaja Krishnan | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Candid, spontaneous and outrageously funny, this mother and son are among Instagram’s favourite people (@abhii.krish with over 2,45,000 followers). The first reel Abhijith posted featuring his mother, seven months ago, went viral (2,26, 438 likes) within hours. “It was totally unexpected and we were delighted to say the least,” says Abhijith, who holds an MBA degree, but is a full-time content creator. Since the first super hit video featuring his mother, Abhijith stuck to the winning formula. He calls Shylaja #thuglife, who was apprehensive to act at first, but is now “slaying it”. “We are a close knit family. Amma and I share a close bond; we are not formal with each other,” he says. “Though we plan the content and shoot, we often joke that if we left the camera on, we would get better content,” laughs Abhijith. 

Hailing from Ulunthi in Chengannur, the two speak in casual Malayalam and their content mostly revolves around their daily lives – Shylaja cracking the whip on Abhijith for not doing the chores, Abhijith teasing her for gossiping about a relative or just the two of them talking about the day’s dinner, all with a twist. 

Abhijith says he decided to collaborate with his mother to make the content more relatable to young people, especially those living abroad. “Mother is a universal emotion; a lot of viewers reach out to us to say that we remind them of their own mothers, of home and of Kerala,” he adds.

These mothers from the pre-internet age are now social media stars with a veritable fan following. They are keen to participate in the creative process, and are conscious of what their followers want.

Greeshma Bose and her mother Sheela Chandrabose

Greeshma Bose and her mother Sheela Chandrabose | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Greeshma Bose, a civil engineer and content creator from Ernakulam with three lakh followers on Instagram, collaborates with her stay-at-home mother Sheela Chandrabose often. Humour is Greeshma’s thing, and her mother plays the perfect foil. She maintains a sense of nonchalance so stark that it leaves viewers laughing. “We started doing dubsmashes together at first, but Amma wasn’t comfortable with it. It was she who suggested we could do videos with our own voices and it clicked. We started with small scripts; she gets pretty impatient, she doesn’t like to shoot more than three takes,” says Greeshma. After the initial reluctance, however, her mother warmed up to the process and now even suggests ideas for content. “Amma is my greatest supporter; she reads all the comments on my videos, of course, with special emphasis on the praise for her,” laughs Greeshma. 

Sanathan Shree Krishnan and Vasantha Sankarraman

Sanathan Shree Krishnan and Vasantha Sankarraman | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Independent musician from Chennai, Sanathan Shree Krishnan, says the first episode of his Ammavum Naanum series, a Carnatic flip of the popular Tamil hit ‘Vaseegara’ by his mother and himself, uploaded in 2022 received an overwhelming response. It crossed four lakh likes on Instagram. “Comments kept pouring in and it had multiple shares. We were shocked and surprised at the same time,” says Sanathan, who works freelance, with over 80 songs under his name, including original songs. After the first hit, Sanathan says he felt responsible to deliver what people wanted and consistently created musical content with his mother. “Even when we do a cover, Amma suggests we add fresh twists to it, instead of singing it as it is,” he adds.

Sanathan’s handle, @sanathanogram, with close to 10 lakh followers, is a refreshingly original musical library, complete with mashups, covers and Carnatic takes on film songs across languages. “Though I post a video every alternate day and one with Amma every week, people love our joint videos more,” says Sanathan. “Amma often jokes that I am famous because of her,” he adds.

A retired music teacher from the Madras Music Academy, his mother Vasantha Sankarraman has performed Carnatic concerts across venues, but the short video format of film songs was relatively new to her. “During the shoot, she would always be focussed on the song. Gradually, she grew to enjoy it and it is now a great time for us to bond. She enjoys the time as much as I do,” says Sanathan. 

Biju Dhwani Tharang and Shyamala Xavier

Biju Dhwani Tharang and Shyamala Xavier | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Choreographer Biju Dhwani Tharang (@biju_dhwanitharang) and his dancer mother Shyamala Xavier from Ernakulam went viral with their choreography for the piece ‘Harichandana malarile madhuvayi’ from Kannezhuthi Pottumthottu. “The likes and shares were truly surprising, but what the video was just an extension of our life — filled with dance and music,” says Biju, who shares a deep bond with his mother. A PG Diploma holder in Bharatanatyam from RLV College of Music and Fine Arts, Shyamala is fondly known as ‘teacher’. “Initially, while shooting our videos, I would be watching Amma closely to see if she was doing the moves right, but I would soon realise that her’s always came out better. No matter how much I try, she is a better dancer,” says Biju, who is also a Bharatanatyam graduate from RLV. 

While most of the videos are planned, there is the odd spontaneous one as well. “Amma often comes up with ideas now and asks if we can do a piece, we work as a creative team now,” Biju adds.

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