Readers Write In #225: Keeping Up With Vanitha Vijaykumar

Reality television may want to feed off our misogyny, but here is a fresh take.

Baradwaj Rangan

(by H Prasanna)

Vanitha, who began her career as an actress, has cemented herself as a true maverick of reality TV in Tamil Nadu with her new YouTube channel and (now closed) Insta account. This is decidedly not reality television in terms of production and narrative control. It is a gossip column news story elevated spiritually to reality television by the personality of Vanitha, and the reactions she elicits and sometimes demands. Vanitha’s YouTube channel started off as a cookery show with some make-up tips and her other lifestyle expertise showcased occasionally. It is replete with cheesy clickbait captions, images, and trailers. The show itself, until recently, was mostly done with one shaky handheld camera with limited graphics and cuts, and sometimes featured direct uploads of recorded Insta live sessions. Her style is conversational, without the trappings of the more rigorous cookery shows. She has put this together using experiences…

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