She steals the show in the dozens of YouTube videos uploaded on the channel, My Village Show (MVS), which is popular for its unusual comedy and raw portrayal of everyday life in a Telangana village.
The funny sketches, usually with an underlying message feature the best of rural talent, and one among the team, arguably the favourite of most viewers, is 58-year-old Milkuri Gangavva.
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A farmer from Lambadipally, Gangavva has spent the larger part of her life working in the fields.
When Srikanth Sriram, the founder of MVS, requested Gangavva to join his crew, she had no idea that she would take to it like a duck to water.
Srikanth had started the channel back in 2012 and Anil Geela, a mathematics professor, joined him later.
For the uninitiated, Srikanth and Anil are the stars of the wildly popular Kiki challenge video.
Running a bullock-led plough through a paddy stretch, the duo’s joyful dance captured the internet’s attention and shot MVS to fame.
Following this, they got even more serious with their careers as “YouTubers,” and started hiring people who helped them make sketch videos regularly.
Today, the team comprises eight members who write scripts, do the camera work, edit and also manage the social media handles.
Srikanth knew Gangavva as his friend’s mother, and when the team was searching for an elderly woman to play roles of loving grannies or controlling aunties, she stood out as a fantastic choice.
Speaking to The Better India, Gangavva says, “Srikanth is the one who encouraged me to get in front of the camera. My son is a farmer, and I help him out as much as I can. But I enjoy working on the videos a lot.
They let me be myself and allow me to speak and react as I feel fit. So the process is even more fun. I don’t have a script or preparation of any kind.”
Since the videos don’t follow a particular character in every segment, Gangavva is free to experiment with her expressions, tone and body language, and it is exceedingly clear to any viewer that she is quite a talented actor.
Whether as an accomplice in a “murder” or a grandmother complaining about the issues surrounding her, the millions of viewers who follow MVS, Gangavva’s appearance in the sketches.
“The first time we read out the script to her, she listened once and improvised on her own during the shoot. Gangavva doesn’t need to memorise any dialogues; she is at her best in front of the camera,” Anil told The News Minute.
Gangavva is happy that her work is reaching so many people.
“We try to address the issues faced by the rural population, but with a tinge of humour. This feels like a very good way to inform people about our lives,” she says.
And she has no reservations in sharing what the videos have brought her. “Fame!” the farmer replies instantly. “I have become quite popular in Telangana ever since I started featuring in the videos. And I like it. I got to meet celebrities like Vijay Devarakonda, Priyadarshi, Srinivas Bellamkonda, and several other Telugu movie stars through the course of this journey. I wouldn’t mind more of this, really,” she adds.
Thanks to her acting skills, she bagged a role in the biopic of Padma Shri awardee Chintakindi Mallesham. You can read more about him here.
The internet is full of inspirational people from various backgrounds spreading positivity, whether through humour, inspirational stories or feel-good videos.
Gangavva, a simple farmer-turned-YouTube star is one such example, and we love her for her effortless acting, subtle humour and unflinching simplicity.
Note: Huge thanks to Srikanth and Kevin Ronith Kumar for helping interview Gangavva!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)