Published: 29th September 2018
This Kozhikode YouTube star's channel, Ballatha Pahayan, featuring witty videos has become popular for all the right reasons
One of Vinod's recent videos that went viral was his mimicry of Arnab Goswami and has already crossed 9,68,000 views
Suresh Kochattil, who spearheaded the Hyderabad chapter of Narendra Modi’s social media campaign during the 2014 elections, was criticised recently for an audio clip about how the Kerala floods had affected only the rich in the state and told people that there was no need to send monetary help. One among his many critics was Vinod Narayan from Kozhikode whose YouTube channel Ballatha Pahayanhas become suddenly popular for his witty take on current issues.
"Suresh, the flood doesn’t come all the way to a point, stop and check which house is rich and which is poor before flowing into one," Vinod told Suresh in his recent video that garnered over 8,00,000 views. This was one of Vinod's most viewed content recently.
Vinod, who currently works with Singularity University in California, is an electrical engineer from REC Calicut (Now NIT). An avid blogger, both in English and Malayalam, for the past 10 years, he can't remember when he posted his first video but he remembers shooting it on a mobile phone in his car. He started the YouTube channel in June 2016.
"Video is a much sought out content form and after blogging for a while I thought a video would be a great addition to what I write, however, it did not work out initially. Even though I shot videos, I was not comfortable putting them out in the public. Since I love poetry, I started a campaign to promote reading by performing a daily poetry reading in English instead. I did that for over 160 days at a stretch. This helped me get rid of my initial inhibitions and then I went on to try similar things in Malayalam," explains Vinod.
After starting his channel, Vinod kept shooting videos whenever he had some time and he wanted to talk about an issue. For all those non-Malayalis — Ballatha Pahayan is a slang for "ahh, some character he is". When asked why he chose a slang for a name, he laughs and explains, "I was already using 'Marthyan' as a pseudonym for my Malayalam blog which has a more serious tone. I wanted a quirky touch to the video channel. I also chose this particular name because there was an old Malayalam film of the same name."
One of Vinod's recent videos that went viral was his mimicry of Arnab Goswami and has already crossed 9,68,000 views. It came at the time when people alleged Arnab of calling the people of Kerala shameless during one of his news segments on television. Vinod in his video wore a suit like Arnab and spoke his mind, half of it in English and the rest in Malayalam. At the end of the video, he was seen moving further from the camera and reveals wearing a lungi below the suit, for "that’s how Malayalis really are," says Vinod.
Vinod tells us that his family members and friends have often asked him if he's scared to feature on these videos or make them, "Social media can influence in both good and bad ways. Bad because it can be a place to spread fake news and influence people wrongly. Good because it gives the common man the power to break wrong narratives and have a platform to debate and question. I am just trying to put forward my opinion, pose a question sometimes to the public and that's what I will keep doing."
This recent YouTube star doesn’t have an idea of what his channel future will be, he will only stop when he has nothing more to talk about.
You can visit his blogs at https://vinodnarayan.com/ for English and https://marthyan.com/ for Malayalam under the pseudonym 'Marthyan' meaning human in Malayalam.