A blend of fun and information
Inspire and re-energize have been the driving force behind actor Yamuna’s Insta handle (@actressyamunaofficial), which was launched in October 2021. Youngsters in nuclear families today miss out on the guidance given by elders. I hope to add my bit to fill that gap but without being preachy and boring; I intersperse fun elements in my talk. ”
Her 45.1 K on Instagram and YouTube followers get a peek of her diverse content. She transforms into Chittoor Chinnakka, paying tribute to women through ‘Aadavaaru Meeku johaarlu’, portraying Insta kashtaalu (hardships) of a family, house-cleaning tips, sharing health information, nutritional power of vegetables, her experiences, interaction with her two daughters and healthy cooking.
“When I shoot a video from a new location, the intent is not just to show the place but talk about things that I find interesting there.” A recent example is her video on the goodness of banana stem after spotting a banana tree where she was shooting.
Yamuna, who also acts in two Telugu serials, Mouna Poratam and Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu on ETV explains, “One can survive only through reinvention. The acting style of the ’90s doesn’t work now. I like to call myself a 2022 actress. New ideas in videos help connect with the present generation but I never create videos without adding informative content. ”
Yamuna’s two daughters Vishesha and Kaushika, are her friends and her biggest critics too. “I am inspired by them too while creating content.”
Creating videos for social media has been a fulfilling experience for Yamuna. ‘I consider these videos my babies as I conceptualise them, write my own script, including dialogues, and also visualize the scenes.’
Advocacy of health
From a spicy Bindi masala and a simple palakura pappu (spinach dal) to cook in a mud pot, and making a hair conditioner out of ganji (rice starch, you will find all this and more on Mucharla Aruna’s Instagram handle (@mucharlaaruna). There are also videos of her vegetable garden, gym and yoga workout routines, and her family, including her granddaughter.
Mucharla Aruna | Photo Credit: Special arrangement
Aruna’s simple homely look, clad in a salwar kameez, coupled with her conversational narrative and passion for food and health advocacy with small lifestyle changes, establishes an immediate connect with her 398 K followers.
With her granddaughter | Photo Credit: Special arrangement
Aruna’s entry to Instagram in May 2021 was not premeditated for the best actor known for her roles in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam cinema. That was when, on a visit to her second daughter Yashi Gupta in Greenville, South Carolina in the USA, she set about preparing masalas in a rubbu rolu (traditional stone grinder) instead of a mixie, much to Yashi’s amusement. “When I dried the clothes in the sun, she asked if I was creating a small village in America. I told her, ‘We all came from a village’, ”she recalls with a laugh. This reply prompted Yashi to create a social media account for her mother to showcase her traditional culinary skills and also rediscover age-old techniques and habits.
Aruna credits her daughters for this one-year Instagram journey. With their sprawling house in Neelankarai in Chennai as the backdrop, Aruna’s youngest daughter, Riya Gupta, who is studying medicine or her husband, Mohan. shoot the videos. “My daughters tell me I have to finish talking in 55 minutes for the video. It is a challenge but I do it in one shot as my children have become busy. ”
Initially, Aruna was not fond of cooking but with her mother and mother-in-law being avid cooks, and a food-loving husband, the actor gradually picked up the skill. She was also inspired by yesteryear actresses, Vijaya Nirmala and Sowkar Janaki. “Vijaya Nirmala akka would always cook for actor Krishna garu during shootings.
My concept on Instagram is to showcase traditional recipes, cooking techniques and age-old lifestyle practices that we grew up with. ” Aruna cites the example of her mother who was healthy until she passed away a year ago at the age of 78. “She would always opt for kunkudukaaya (soap nut) for her hair and home remedies to treat flu. ” In the videos, Aruna comes across as an affable elder explaining things with a smile, without being preachy.
Aruna is glad to reinvent herself to connect with youngsters; the feedback and messages to her 100-odd videos motivate her in this social media journey. “A USA-based Indian doctor was reminded of her childhood when she saw a video of me putting the lentils out to dry in the sun.”
These actors are demonstrating that neither age nor absence from cinema can prevent them from connecting with audiences of all age groups.