Say hello to Pammi Aunty: Ssumier Pasricha is the brain behind the viral internet sensation
She's witty and has an opinion on all things under the sun — be it the Brexit, or homosexuality. Pammi Aunty is difficult to miss.
Even Rishi Kapoor loves Pammi Aunty. The veteran actor tweeted his love for the new Punjabi sensation when he discovered her videos in July this year.
This guy is amazing. He is Pammi Aunty! Anyone know about him or his whereabouts? Am told he is all over the net pic.twitter.com/q9i9MLl7PN
— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) July 10, 2016
Ssumier Pasricha, the 36-year-old Shah Rukh Khan lookalike, actor and photographer is the face and brains behind Pammi Aunty.
Just Fooling Around
The actor told us how he came up with the idea of Pammi Aunty: Whilst exploring Snapchat with his nephew, he came across a filter that he really liked. The Snapchat filter, combined with his knowledge of growing up in a Punjabi household, gave him the idea of the know-it-all busybody. Ssumier's first video, that went up on 14 May 2016, went viral as soon as it was posted.
Telling us about how he films the Pammi Aunty videos, Ssumier says, "I just put on the towel and the hair rollers and transform into Pammi Aunty. The format is of course, unscripted. As soon as we start writing scripts for Pammi Aunty's character, the charm will be lost."
Here’s the first video that Pammi Aunty posted:
Since then, Pammi Aunty has talked about various issues. Teaming up with Agents of Ishq, Pammi Aunty has given her expert opinion on Tinder and homosexuality. Pasricha told us how this collaboration came about, "Paromita Vohra, who is behind Agents of Ishq, wanted me to address a few topics from Pammi Aunty's point of view. So we have Pammi Aunty talking about Tinder from a middle-aged lady's perspective. We always have men commenting on the women on Tinder, but this was different, Pammi Aunty was giving her opinion on which men are worth dating."
The actor tells us the dialogues and ideas are instantaneous. "It's all impromptu," he says.
Following your dreams
Ssumier always wanted to be an actor. Even at the age of 10, he was sure about his ambitions and joined a local theater group to explore his talent. This fondness for acting grew with age. After studying in Australia and convincing his parents that he was really passionate about pursing acting and didn’t want to run the family business, he moved to Mumbai to join the big bad world of acting.
He tells us about his experience of doing 'musical theater', of working in Sherkhar Kapur's play Mahim Junction for which he toured the world for two years.
"We used a lot of Bollywood songs from the 1960s, and the play was a mix of Hindi and English. I played the lead, an NRI Muslim who comes to a chawl in Mahim and falls in love with a Hindu girl. There were many dynamics at play here — the Hindu-Muslim love story, the political equation of a Muslim NRI coming to a community dominated by Hindus and the language dynamic — I was the English-speaking NRI who was thrown into situations with people from the Mahim Chawl who used to converse in Hindi."
Pasricha has also been a part of theater musicals like Jesus Christ Super Star and Heart to Heart.
Then there was a stint in the telly series Sasural Simar Ka where he essayed the role of Shailendra Bharadwaj for three years. He says, “I had exhausted all creative resources in three years and decided to quit, to do something more creatively stimulating.”
The story behind the extra 'S'
It was 2008, and Pasricha was just starting to dabble in professional theater along with handling his father's business enterprises. It was an encounter with a numerologist that changed his life. A numerologist, who knew nothing about Pasricha's love for acting asked him, “Movie kab sign kar raha hai?”.
He was surprised when she told him that an extra ‘S’ in his first name would launch his film career. And it did. He signed a film deal, which ended up as a flop, but still — he got his start in Bollywood.
Pasricha also told us that other than being passionate about theater and acting, he is also a photographer who contributes to magazines like National Geographic for fashion and travel shoots.
What about Pammi Aunty though? Will we be listening in to more of Pammi Aunty's conversations with her best friend Sarla Behenji? What's on the horizon?
“Yes, you will see a lot more of Pammi Aunty. I can’t tell (too much) you right now, but there’s lot more of Pammi Aunty coming your way,” with that, the actor signs off.