Viraj, 31, with his Nani, Bhanuben, 81
Viraj, 31, with his Nani, Bhanuben, 81

Social Media Stars of The Week: Viraj Ghelani and Bhanuben Thakkar

The grandma-grandson duo win for their Gujarati rendition of Phoebe’s Smelly Cat, which went viral and was appreciated by all
By Shruti Nair
UPDATED ON JUL 11, 2021 08:38 AM IST

When Lisa Kudrow sat on the famous orange couch in the café with Lady Gaga in the Friends Reunion episode, both of them strumming the guitar and singing Smelly Cat, it brought tears of joy to audiences’ eyes as we sang along. Well, it was a bittersweet feeling.

It was a similar feeling when a video featuring content creator Viraj Ghelani, 28, who came to be recognised as the FilterCopy guy, after his videos on the agency’s YouTube channel went viral, and his maternal grandmother Bhanuben Thakkar, 81, pulled off a Gujarati edition of Smelly Cat, which has now crossed over 1.2M views.

“The idea germinated from the episode, of course, but because Nani is loved so much, it made sense to include her and do it in Gujarati for her comfort,” explains Viraj.

Bhanuben, now a social media star thanks to her grandson, was nervous before the shoot. “I couldn’t sleep the previous night wondering whether I’d be able to pull it off,” she says. “When I did it the next day, it made me feel confident.”

This is not Nani’s debut on Viraj’s profile, but it is the first video featuring her that has gone viral.

A week before recording the song (above) at a studio owned by a friend of Viraj’s, Bhanuben practised the song late into the night
A week before recording the song (above) at a studio owned by a friend of Viraj’s, Bhanuben practised the song late into the night

Bhanuben practiced the song late into the night for a week. “I used to feed stray cats so, this song felt very special,” she shares. Viraj’s mother had adopted 31 cats at one point, he says. They all lived together with their humans in a one-room house.

To get the Gujarati lyrics and slang right, Viraj sought the help of Gujarat-based stand-up comic and actor, Chirayu Mistry. Then they recorded the song with Viraj’s friend Ritik Mehta.

Nani’s a natural in front of the camera, says Viraj, who has been getting requests from brands to create videos with her.

But the best part of the rendition? Nani has no idea about the show Friends.

Clearly, it’s all a moo point!

Who should be the next HT Brunch Social Media Star Of The Week? Nominate using the hashtag #BrunchSocialMediaStarOTW or email

Follow @MissNairr on Twitter and Instagram

From HT Brunch, July 11, 2021

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