Published: 12th April 2021
Medico Janaki Omkumar who went viral for Rasputin video: 10 million watched the video, controversy only came from one or two
After going viral for a video of herself and another student dancing to Boney M's Rasputin, Janaki Omkumar knows exactly what feedback to pay attention to
After unwittingly becoming a hot topic across social media, solidarity posts and opinion pieces, Janaki Omkumar is in a daze of sorts. A video posted on March 23 of the Thrissur Medical College student dancing to the tune of Boney M’s Rasputin in worn-out medical college scrubs with her senior Naveen K Razak has crossed 700k views on Instagram. However, as she stares ahead at a dreaded week ahead with practical exams, being a viral sensation has temporarily taken the backseat for the medical student.
The blow-up took approximately 2-3 days, explains Janaki. “Usually, when we post a video or something, our friends are very supportive. But we didn't expect this bigger reaction. We had 10k views the same night, which was already surprising. The next morning, we reached 20k, then 30k and it just went on like that. Then it stalled somewhere towards 60k when we kind of thought it was done. Within 2 days, everything changed. That was still when friends and friends of friends were sharing it. After that, when celebrities started sharing it, went over the roof and had reached 100k views by the third day.”
A few days after the video was shared across every WhatsApp group and Instagram page, a Facebook post by a Kerala-based lawyer called Krishna Raj questioning the religious identities of the dancers created a massive uproar on social media. But the duo remained noticeably quiet on the topic, save for a new video that surfaced along with other dancers from their college with the hashtag #StepAgainstHate.
MAKE A MOVE: A shot from the viral video
“We really don’t care,” says Janaki, unabashedly, “Yes, everything that goes viral obviously ends up leading to some controversy or other. But it means nothing to us. We decided to neglect it because there are at least a minimum of 10 million people who have watched this video. And this comes from just one or two people. Our college union, the IMA and a lot of other colleges came up with videos in solidarity.”
We steer towards the sheer reach of the video itself. A week ago, Boney M’s official Instagram page had shared it. From Thrissur Medical College’s alumni group alone, it travelled far and wide among the medical fraternity. Janaki recounts that doctors from the USA and Canada had called her parents up to enquire if it was her.
READ ALSO: Kerala medicos of viral Rasputin dance video caught in communal remarks. SFI starts dance competition to protest
The video which was shot in the house surgeons quarters of Thrissur Medical College, was initially unseen by teachers. And when the views began trickling in, they were overwhelmed with pride. Janaki says, “Everything is really active here in college. There is some programme or the other every day. Our teachers are really good. My batch alone has been getting university ranks for the past 2 or 3 years. So although it is definitely hectic, I’m very happy about where I am!”
STEP UP: Janaki is a trained classical dancer
Janaki, who is trained only in classical dance, learnt all she knows about hip hop from her college seniors who set up the dance group that she is now a part of. The whole video was impromptu and took just 2 hours after classes to put together. “One hundred per cent of what I know, I learnt from my seniors. This is the first time Naveen and I have ever paired up, we’ve never done a dance or reel together before. We have this common interest in dance and interesting videos so we DM each other when we find these things. He had sent the Rasputin video to me saying it would be great to do it together.”
And as for the road ahead, she hopes to either do her PG in medicine or become a researcher. Inspiration wasn’t far away for Janaki as her mother is a doctor herself and father, a scientist. She says, “They have always been supportive about dance. Although they prefer me doing classical (chuckles) they have always loved this side of me. They have always asked me to never stop dancing, even when I’m older. That’s one thing they always ask me to take along with my profession.”