KOCHI: The video shows a mother asking her daughter to get her top fixed as her bra straps are visible. This frustrates the daughter who tries to explain the concept of an off-shoulder top. In the second video, a girl asks her boyfriend to hand over a lip-liner. The boy then frantically searches for one, as everything looks the same to him. The third video throws light on the difficulties single people face to rent an apartment. The highest common factor in these videos? They’re hilarious with superb comic timing, they’re relatable, and they have the skilful hands of Nayana Shyam in them.
Meet Nayana. The actor, director, and script-writer of FilterCopy, a mixed media platform has taken YouTube by storm. The best part? She’s from Kochi. Okay, might not be the most exciting part but the fact that she has brought out some of the most fantastic videos of FilterCopy makes us proud. When asked about the direction she chose her ship to sail, she quips, “When I was four, my grandmother asked me what I wanted to be. In turn, I asked her the difference between a producer and a director. She told me that a producer had money albeit a director had creative control. Then onward, I knew that I had to be a director.”
Wow, and she was all of four. Now that’s one smart kid. And FilterCopy? “In Class X, I saw an ad of the Symbiosis College, Pune, in the paper. I cut it out and decided that the Media and Communications course would be the perfect fit. Anti-climatically, I didn’t do anything worthwhile at college. The third year saw a terrible short film that I had directed, which, however, was a huge learning experience. Post college, I had an interview with Pocket Aces, the parent company of FilterCopy. Till date, I’m unsure why they chose me as I had no body of work,” Nayana says. Clearly, FilterCopy saw what Nayana herself didn’t.
That wasn’t it. It took her seven-eight months to shed her lack of confidence and write a script. Was the rest history? Close, perhaps. ‘Fashion Conversations with Mum’, her first written and directed video, garnered 1 crore likes, thereby becoming one of FilterCopy’s most shareable videos. “That video is completely inspired from real life. Every dialogue in it has been spoken by my parents at some point. I never realised that it would be relatable,” she says. And her best work? “If Salary Were a Person. It is my first fully-fledged funny script. And an example of how I’ve grown as a writer and director,” she shares.
Directing someone else’s script could be rather difficult, but Nayana cites otherwise. “Over time I’ve realised that it’s much more fulfilling to direct scripts that have been written by others. Also, I think your aim should never be to have all the control in the world. In the end, all of us want a great video,” she says. Nayana clearly radiates humility. Working with actors such as Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidya Balan and Parvathy Thiruvoth hasn’t deterred her one bit. She continues to be grateful to the people around her and is a firm believer in teamwork. “Respect your crew.
If the video has done well, then you aren’t the sole person to be credited. Without my team, none of these would have been possible,” she says.
With such an engaging workplace and viral videos, what exactly would be a successful video for her? “I feel like I’m doing a good job when someone tells me they connected with the video, it made them laugh. Also, I make sure they can see a glimpse of my life and theirs in my work,” Nayana shares.
Nayana is more than a script writer and director. Her acting chops are evident in videos. “ Acting is at a nascent stage right now. I’ve received positive feedback which made me take it more seriously in the last six months. In fact, directing has helped me become a better actor because when I direct, I know exactly what I want from my actor. And when I act, I think from the shoes of a director,” she says. In response to what’s next on her plate, she answers, “A web series. Netflix. A film.” She laughs. “Basically, to be as good as to deserve the things that come,” she adds.