Netflix India’s hilarious ‘Grandma Reacts To’ series deserves its own show
Have you heard of ‘Netflix & Gran’ yet?
Sharan Nair’s brand of D-I-Y videos had racked up almost 18,000 organic followers up till just four months ago. The Kochi-based content creator posted everything from slice-of-life home videos to hilarious self-imposed challenges (like this potential road trip of a lifetime); basically anything that he’d find funny, he says. Not long after he started posting these clips back in 2017, one category emerged a clear favourite—Sharan’s videos with his Ammuma or grandmother. A love for drama, an astute sense of timing and a healthy dose of pop culture—please watch this Wild, Wild Country-inspired clip—skyrocketed Ammuma to micro-influencer status (and Sharan, of course).
He says, “I think I realised that people like this content when they started paying attention to what we were both saying, and they would randomly tell me things when I would bump into them on the street or at a coffee shop.”
The turning point for Sharan and Ammuma was being discovered by Netflix India; the duo kick-started the ‘Grandma Reacts To’ series for the streaming platform and, so far, they have reacted (rather hilariously) to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Sacred Games, Lust Stories and Black Mirror. Today, Sharan’s Instagram following is almost 30,000-strong and the videos have racked up lots of views, comments and even more love. The reason? Relatable content that effortlessly bridges the gap between two generations of TV-watchers.
We caught up with Sharan to ask him a few questions we had for his Ammuma, his plans for the future, and how he deals with internet trolls. Excerpts below:
ELLE: How did the ‘Grandma Reacts To’ series come about?
Sharan Nair: Netflix India’s Akash Iyer had the idea to do a ‘Grandma reacts to’ series. By chance, he stumbled upon my Instagram, and ended up loving the videos I make. So, he messaged me asking if we would be interested in collaborating, and I said, “Yes yes, a million times, yes!”. Ammuma and I usually sit together and watch Netflix at home, so this was no different for us.
ELLE: Did you have to convince her to do this series?
SN: She was ready to ‘Netflix & Gran’ the moment I asked her. However, Ammuma did get a shock on set the first day because she was not used to multiple cameras, lights and everything; I record all our videos on my phone so this was a huge difference for her. She knew at that moment that she made it.
ELLE: How does your grandma feel about having fans and being popular on the internet?
SN: Ammuma loves it but she doesn’t like people knowing that she loves it. One moment she will say, “Oh my god, everybody on the internet loves me and people recognise me at temples and weddings, and it’s great,” and the next minute she will go, “Oh my god, I am more than 70 years old and I just want a peaceful life”. She is trying to be humble but gran is bad at being humble. She loves keeping track of all the comments that come her way. She will ask me, “So, how did our latest Netflix video do? Did people love it? Did they think we were funny?” Real professional (laughs).
ELLE: What kind of a role did your grandma play in your upbringing?
SN: She played a huge role because I grew up with living with her. She is more best friend and less grandmother. She is also my inspiration to become an actor; she’s the biggest drama queen I know. Funny story: she gets more acting roles than I do. We are also very similar. For instance, we both love 6am. She loves waking up at 6am and going to the temple, and I love sleeping at 6am after a good night of FIFA or Netflix.
ELLE: What kind of shows/movies does your grandma like to watch?
SN: She loves her Malayalam serials. Six to ten in the evening is a sacred time devoted to watching them, but if you are ever on the phone with her and you ask her what she is doing, she will say she is watching the news. But guys, it’s never the news. It’s always the Malayalam TV shows.
ELLE: Is she now a Netflix watcher? If yes, what are her favourite shows?
SN: She LOVES Netflix because she gets to watch Dulquer Salman and Noah Centineo in the same place. She really enjoyed watching Sacred Games and Friends. She has even renamed the characters on Friends to Indian names—for example, Ross is now Roshan.
ELLE: What is her unfiltered opinion on Noah Centineo?
SN: Firstly, this is a question designed to hurt me but, according to her, Noah is a cutie who should star in all Netflix movies and shows. But sometimes, when nobody is watching, and the cameras aren’t on, she says I am cuter than him…but nobody is going to believe this, are they?
ELLE: Who is your grandma’s favourite Sacred Games character?
SN: It has to be Karthik AKA Katekar. She calls him Karthik because Katekar has proved to be a difficult name to pronounce. Also Sartaj, because she thinks he is a very ‘pavaam’ police officer. ‘Pavaam’ means an innocent type of person who always does the right thing and listens to their mother. She has also approved of my marriage to Radhika Apte after I professed my love for her.
ELLE: On a scale of one to 10, how savage is your grandma off the camera?
SN: 102938379392. It’s painful sometimes. She says the meanest things between takes but, thankfully, nobody ever gets to see it. Her favourite thing to say is: “Have you even taken a shower today?” YES GRAN, I have.
ELLE: How do you deal with undue criticism or trolls?
SN: You know, putting yourself out there is probably the hardest thing to do. So, once you have the courage to do that, you have already done more than all the people who will judge you. But, on the flipside, there is a lot of love too.
ELLE: What’s next for you and your grandma?
SN: She is the official Netflix Grandma and I am her sidekick—we will keep irritating each other on camera and, hopefully, Ammuma will stop asking me to do an MBA.