Dubai: If you thought selfies are the domain of only the younger generation, you should meet 64-year-old Sudheer Andicot. The Indian expat is said to be the “selfie star” among his community members from the South Indian state of Kerala in the UAE.
It is not the scenic locales or the adventurous elements in his selfies that have made this grandfather an overnight star after some of the vernacular media in India featured him recently.
It is the sheer number of selfies that Sudheer has been taking daily and posting on Facebook that has thrust him into the limelight. He has been clicking 80 to 120 selfies almost every day for the past three to four years and has posted tens of thousands of them on Facebook.
A resident of the UAE for 40 years, Sudheer claims to have posted over 146,000 photos on his Facebook account in the past four years. “More than 80,000 of them would be selfies,” he says.
The majority of them are taken with other people — friends, colleagues, family members, celebrities and even strangers.
Taking photos with celebrities visiting here has been a passion for Sudheer who is known by his pet name Omanakuttan, or OK, among members of the Malayali community.
His tryst with selfies began after his first attempt to take one with popular Malayalam actor Nivin Pauly turned out to be a flop.
“I was so upset to see only some strands of my hair in that selfie. One gentleman then helped me take a proper picture on my phone.”
The urge to take the perfect selfie was thus planted in the sexagenarian and he mastered it in no time. Slowly, it became his hobby. “I had always been fond of taking everyone’s pictures. After I started taking selfies, I felt it is a better way of taking pictures in my signature style. Thus it became my hobby.”
Surprisingly, Sudheer says he had no intention of setting records in taking selfies. He laughs at reports that snapping regular selfies could be a sign of mental health problems.
“Maybe that is applicable to people who take only their own selfies in different poses and post them. I take selfies to freeze the memories of my life at least in this last leg of my journey,” Sudheer said, adding that his pictures are more of ‘groufies’ [pictures of him with groups].
Naturally, Sudheer abhors what has come to be known as killfies — the ambitious selfies that have led to the deaths of people while clicking selfies on the edge of cliffs, or buildings or while dangling from trains.
“It is not worth risking your life to take dangerous selfies. Just enjoy the moment and spread happiness by capturing special moments in a selfie,” he advises youngsters.
Working as a business development manager at RAG Foodstuff Trading in Dubai Investment Park for the past eight years, Sudheer’s selfie craze grips him even at work. Although his bosses have been largely tolerant of his passion, he was recently told to post them on Facebook only after office hours, laughs Sudheer.
“Now everyone at home as well as my office is happy that I have become famous because of this hobby. People who know me are waiting to be captured in my selfie,” say Sudheer.
With his retirement looming next year, Sudheer’s wish is to take selfies on the latest iPhone X. “I have owned the iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and now I use an iPhone 6 plus. I didn’t buy iPhone 7 because I heard it is almost the same as this one. I am just waiting to get hold of an iPhone X in October.”