For some it’s a face that launches thousands of fans, but for Malayalam actress hopeful Priya Prakash Varrier it was her wink, her dramatic eyebrows and her cheeky flirtatious mannerisms that catapulted her into an overnight internet sensation.
As soon as the Malayalam song Manikya Malaraya Poovi from the teen romantic comedy Oru Adaar Love released on Monday, the Thrissur-based Varrier’s Instagram account has exponentially increased to 2.3million followers and her song clip has been seen over eight million times so far.
Her social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook have also received an instant blue tick mark, which in today’s times indicate that she has truly arrived on the social scene.
As fan clubs and memes mushroom around her, Gulf News tracked her down on the phone in Kerala to tap into her new-found fame. Varrier was breathless as she told us exclusively that she had never anticipated such furore over her playful expressions.
“All of this is so unexpected and I never expected such a huge reaction … What you see in that song was all spontaneous. The director asked me to do something cute and just asked me if I could wink,” said Varrier with a laugh.
It’s safe to say that she has transformed winking into a desirable flirting tool and an art form. Hashtags such as #newnationalcrush have been doing the rounds.
“The expressions shown in the song was all done on the spot and therefore all of this is so unbelievable,” said Varrier, who claims she is unfamiliar with the likes of Justin Bieber who is another star internet discovery. Her favourite actress is South Indian star, Nayanthara.
The 18-year-old is a graduate of commerce from a popular women’s-college in Thrissur and is the discovery of director Omar Lulu who gave her first feature-film break. She’s not from an acting dynasty and her story is the stuff of film folklore.
The daughter of a The Central Board of Excise and Custom employee and a mother who’s a homemaker has always been passionate about entering films. She has a younger brother and all of them are still grappling with her sudden tryst with soaring popularity.
“My family and I are confused about how to react to his instant fame. It happened overnight and I don’t how to really handle all this fame and attention. This is my first feature film,” said Varrier, who has previous acted in a few short films. She has also signed her first autograph today, something that only actors can boast of.
“There were little kids from a school asking for my autograph and it feels surreal to be in the center of all this,” she added.
Her role isn’t limited to acting coy in a music video, sung by ace singer Vineeth Sreenivasan. She plays an integral part in the teenage drama.
“It’s a high school drama and I am one of the five girls in the film,” said Varrier, who is a trained Indian classical dancer.
“Maybe it did help … I have trained in Bharathnatyam and Mohiniyattam. Although I want to continue my studies, I want to act more,” she added.
But it’s not all been good. The young woman has also been at the receiving end of several memes that took a swipe at her overly dramatic expressions. She has been compared to the reed-thin Mr Bean, a comedian who employs physical humour.
“I am aware of all the jokes too, but I am taking it all on a positive stride. I feel incredibly lucky and I want to thank all my supporters.”
Singer Vineeth Sreenivasan, who has sung the song that Varrier has been featured in and is credited with the voice behind last year’s viral song Jhimmki Kammal, also expressed his happiness at Varrier’s new found fame.
“It’s a great thing because thanks to her wink, our song and our film is getting attention from all over the world… It’s making people aware of Malayalam film industry and what we have to offer. Now, many people across the globe are looking up our state and our melodies. They now know that there’s a state called Kerala and we too have a vibrant film industry,” said Sreenivasan in a separate interview with Gulf News.
Meanwhile, Varrier and her team are gearing up to release a new teaser to their Valentine’s Day release.
“I hope the teaser tonight also gets such a huge reaction like the song got,” said Varrier.