July 5, 2021 8:24:34 pm
The Village Cooking Channel (VCC) has become the first Tamil YouTube channel to hit one crore (10 million) subscribers. The creators of the channel, which got a pan-India appeal with the video of Rahul Gandhi cooking mushroom biryani during the recent election campaign, put up a video on Sunday thanking the subscribers and YouTube for giving them the ‘diamond play button’ gift box.
As a gesture of gratitude, the channel creators — 75-year-old Periyathambi and his grandchildren Ayyanar, Murugesan, Tamilselvan, Muthumanickam and Subramanian — have donated Rs 10 lakh to Tamil Nadu chief minister’s Covid-19 relief fund from their YouTube income.
The channel, launched in April 2018, shows Periyathambi and his grandchildren cooking dishes in the scenic agricultural fields of the Pudukkottai district. The team is famous for its traditional cooking methods. From mutton keema to lobster fry to exotic winged termites to octopus fry to south Indian snack Achu murukku, they can do it all. They distribute the food they prepare for the channel to orphanages and other needy people.
Periyathambi, who has been in the catering field for nearly 50 years from the age of 25, is chuffed by the recognition YouTube has given him. “This is possible only due to the effort of my grandchildren. One day they told me we can start a YouTube channel and I asked them what YouTube is. They then explained to me the process and showed me videos of other cooking channels and I agreed to do it. My friends, relatives who have seen me in this village since an early age are very happy seeing this,” he said.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Murugesan said they understood their audience and the medium only eight months after starting the channel. “I was running a website, I sold it and then invested the money in starting a channel on YouTube. In the first eight months, we lost around 1.5 lakhs. Our channel didn’t have a good reach because we did what other channels were doing. So, we decided to change our pattern and thought of cooking dishes with items that are all available in our nearby ponds and lakes. We decided that our videos should be raw without any artificiality. Around February 2019, we received Rs 37,000 from YouTube, which was our first income from that channel. Then we understood this is our route,” he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a slight toll on the Village Cooking Channel. “Before Covid, we used to upload our videos once every three days. Due to the lockdown, we are now able to put videos only once a week. Also, we used to distribute our food to nearby villages. Now with current restrictions, we are not able to do that” Subramanian said.
Periyathambi says he still gets goosebumps about meeting Rahul Gandhi. “I never believed when my boys said that Rahul Gandhi was coming to visit us. But it happened. He reached our place, spoke and shook hands with us and even cooked. We were told that he would be here for around 20-30 minutes only but he was there with us for more than an hour. He said he would visit us again. We are waiting for that day,” he added.
Besides their cooking expertise, Periyathambi’s grandchildren are well-educated too. Subramanian, who shoots and edits mainly, has completed M Phil in commerce. Tamil Selvan has M Phil in nanotechnology. Muthumancikam has studied hotel management while Ayyanar has completed B Com.
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