‘Men gossip more than women’
Neither we nor Ssumeir Pasricha himself knew that the snapchat filters which are considered absolutely superfluous and futile would turn him into a sensation overnight. Ssumeir’s just-for-fun escapade on Snapchat gave birth to a boisterous Punjabi aunty- in a towel wrapped around her head, an oversized pink glasses carefully placed on the bridge of her nose and the unavoidable face pack which she rarely puts off- who rants nonchalantly over the phone to her bosom friend ‘Sarla Behenji’.
Pammi aunty is a true gossip queen, who loves to opine about everything from the Euro cup to Brexit, not forsaking the Pokémon Go and the amount of craziness that surrounds the game. She is also a harsh critic of her daughter-in-law and of all the daughter-in-laws in the world and considers MBA as the most bogus educational qualification.
Ssumeir Pasricha, an actor, who has worked in a dozen plays and TV serials, was a part of the famous television soap ‘Sasural Simar Ka’ on Colors. He rose to fame after playing the character of Shubroto in Code Red (Indian TV series).
Other than being a great comedian and actor, he is also a photography aficionado. His Facebook account carries all the proof of his unparalleled work of photography.
His alter-ego Pammi aunty took the internet by storm ever since it came into the limelight. Her whacky one-liners, her sarcastic overtones are to die for. So here is more about Pammi aunty and her future plans from the man himself...
Q. When did you decide to pursue acting as a career?
I never thought I would become an actor. Yes, I was very much active with my co-curricular activities in school but the thought of me becoming an actor on professional grounds never came. I had never thought I could earn money from acting.
Q. Tell us about your first acting break and how instrumental was it in shaping you as an actor?
Theatre with my old school Association MSOSA was my starting point where I actually learned the basics of theatre. My first professional play was Heart to Heart with director Vivek Mansukhani where I got my first pay cheque and I realised I could earn through this talent of mine.
Q. How did the idea of dressing up like a woman strike you? And why did you choose the name ‘Pammi’?
There was no thought of me dressing up like a woman. It was a Snapchat filter which I used, to start. So my first 29 to 30 videos were with that filter. When that filter was removed from Snapchat, during the same time my character was getting a lot of attention, I took that avatar. It is always a mid-shot so I don’t dress up like a woman I just do mask and towel.
Pammi aunty is a common name so when I had to name the character I liked the vibrancy in it and so I just used it. It is funny and easy.
Q. Were you expecting the kind of response you got from the audience for Pammi Aunty? How did you react to it?
I never expected this response from the audience at the initial stage as I was only doing these fun videos for myself and for my friends who used to love me ranting these lines. It’s only after the 30th video that I started receiving calls from all over and I became serious about it.
It was becoming a rage and Rishi Kapoor’s tweet about it made it all the more famous. Well, I was shocked in the beginning but till now I get a new surprise every day and I am trying to digest it.
Q. Pammi aunty is a total gossip queen. What do you personally feel about this habit of gossiping?
Everyone loves to gossip in a healthy or unhealthy manner so there’s nothing wrong in that. I prefer healthy gossiping. Trust me men gossip more than women! *winks*
Q. How have the ‘original’ Pammi aunties reacted to this act?
They are enjoying it. I get calls from all the aunties and they say I am doing good and it’s a true reflection of all of them. The thing is that I am not demeaning anyone. It’s all on a fun note.
Q. In all your videos, it has been seen that you talk extensively about the places in Delhi. Do you feel that the women of Delhi are the best gossip queens as compared to other states?
It’s not just the women of Delhi who gossip, trust me but my character is from Delhi and she is a 50 plus lady, also a Punjabi, who loves to gossip and have an opinion about every other thing in the world.
Q. You might have observed someone very closely before creating a character like this, so could you disclose little details about that person?
I was brought up in a Punjabi family. I have seen these things since my childhood. So it’s not a particular aunty or lady in my house. Pammi is a combination of all the ladies I have come across as a neighbour, mom’s friends, aunties, nani, dadi. All the people who I have come across and I still do.
Q. Though in a hilarious way, Pammi aunty highlights a lot of social issues that needs to be given ample attention. So is it your way of conveying social messages?
Yes, Pammi aunty has become a character who talks about social and current topics and I like it this way. It is my way of showing people and the society what is happening and what needs to be changed, in a funny sarcastic manner.
Q. Have you thought about making a ‘Pammi aunty series’ on the television?
Yes, a lot of things are in the pipeline, I will let you know all once they are finalised.
Q. What are your views about the Indian comedy? Do you ever wish to join any of the comedy soaps on television?
There is viewership for every comedy done so far. I believe in healthy and clean comedy. And no one has approached me till now for any such show if they will; you never know I might join if there is something interesting in store for me.
Q. How do you deal with criticism? Do you feel that sometimes people overdo it?
People in India have become so sensitive. They have forgotten the art of comedy or laughing. They have to criticise everything as if they have the supreme authority over comedy. They don’t know when it comes to comedy, they need to enjoy and forget. I do not believe in hypocrisy. You can say that in close doors but not out in the public.
Comedy is just an exaggeration of thoughts in a funny way. Why not just take the hint from it? Why create a public issue out of everything?
Q. What are your future plans? Tell us about your most memorable ‘Pammi aunty’ moment.
I would stick to Pammi aunty for now. My most memorable moments are the videos of kids enacting Pammi aunty or ranting her lines. The messages full of blessings are the best things I have received, I can say. I enjoy every Pammi aunty moment.
Q. You have gained accolades through experimentation. Do you feel experimenting is healthy?
Experiments will take you a long way, doing what people are doing will get you little fame and money. But something new will definitely take you miles ahead, as far as it is content driven and you are passionate about it.
Q. What message would you like to give to the youth of this country?
Be focused, be positive, have patience and success will definitely come your way.