Published: 05th August 2020
This duo developed Chennai-inspired Instagram filters that have gone viral
Thirupurasundari Sevvel and Mohammad Rafiq from Nam Veedu Nam Oor Nam Kadhai have used heritage sites in Chennai as filters to raise awareness
You must have seen the viral ‘Guess the Gibberish’ filter on Instagram that everyone has been using nowadays. It is hilarious and has drawn the attention of celebrities and the common man alike. The filter has even been modified for different languages. When Thirupurasundari Sevvel and Mohammad Rafiq came across the filter, they decided to develop one of their own that encapsulates their hometown, Chennai. They ended up with three filters that captured the city in all its glory and these have now gone viral.
Sevvel, who is quite new to Instagram, is the founder of Chennai-based social collective Nam Veedu Nam Oor Nam Kadhai (which means, ‘Our homes, our cities, our stories in Tamil), the account under which the filters have been made. So, how does the filter work? “There’s a ‘Guess the Logo’ filter for which we have chosen 11 different logos of Chennai-based institutions with Chennai or Madras in its name. It works pretty much like any other guessing filter, except this is image-based — the user is given some time to guess the image displayed and then the answer is revealed after some time,” says Sevvel. In another filter, you'll be able to see artworks and photographs showing places in Chennai and you have to guess that. "The artworks have been done by Muralidharan Azhagar and Aafreen Fathima SK," adds Sevvel. The filters went live on July 1.
An user clicks a photo using one of the filters
Nam Veedu, which was founded in 2014, organises heritage walks around the city and is also a platform for storytelling about the history, architecture and social issues of Chennai and beyond. "We chose to create the third filter based on photographs taken during those heritage walks," says Sevvel, who is an architect and urban planner and owns Studio Conclave, a firm specialising in traditional and native architectural techniques.
Rafiq, who handled the technical side of things, says it was their desire to raise awareness about the heritage building and educate people about the history and culture of the city that prompted them to develop the filters. "Like all filters, we used an Augmented Reality (AR) software. I was given the responsibility to program, design and execute the filters," says the 25-year-old, who is pursuing his Master's in Computational Design from Germany. Rafiq has been associated with the collective since its inception.
Speaking about how they chose the places to feature in the filters, Sevvel says, "We wanted to feature places that people don't know about usually. So there are photographs or artworks of lanes of Aminjikarai, mortuary in Royapuram and so on for people to guess." Sevvel says the filters have been a hit among the children. "It is a cause of immense happiness as they will become aware of these heritage sites in their city and learn to appreciate them," adds the 30-year-old, who is also a children's author.