Pushparani Sarkar is a Bengali grandmother whose name is familiar to millions now. And the reason for that is the super-hit rural Bengali recipes on this old woman’s YouTube channel named “Villfood” that is watched keenly by millions who wait eagerly for her latest video to be uploaded. So far, more than 4,000 videos have been posted. And the more people watch the videos on her YouTube channel, this old woman and her family from Illambazar in Birbhum keep earning lakhs of rupees, quite literally.
There is no shortage of cooking videos on YouTube; so, what’s unique about Pushparani Sarkar’s channel? It’s the simple recipes of rural Bengal cooked in a clay oven under the open sky in the village environment. Over and above the usual recipes, there are some old and unique recipes that mothers and grandparents of Bengal have known over decades, but which are unknown to most of today’s generation—whether it is steamed hilsa, desi koi, phuchka, raw banana kofta or mango pickle. Most of the raw materials are brought from the farmlands.
Pushparani Sarkar has fans from home and abroad on her YouTube channel; they eagerly wait for her videos of rural Bengal cooking recipes. At the end of a video, Pusparani smiles and asks people to like, subscribe and share her channel that was launched in July 2016. Today, the number of subscribers to the channel is more than 1.5 million.
Pusparani said, “I love to cook. But I never thought people would recognise me for cooking. It’s a joy for the grandchildren. My two grandchildren, Kajal and Sudipta, have spread the videos of my cooking in the country and abroad. Many people want to know the recipes over the phone. Many do not understand the language. But everyone wants to know how to make a dish. I just tell them to watch the video.”
There is also a page on Facebook which has the e-mail ID of Kajal Sarkar, Pusparani’s grandson. And there are more than four lakh likes. However, most of the estimated annual income of at least Rs 8-10 lakh comes from the YouTube videos.
Kajal Sarkar said that there are multiple restaurants across the Bonavilla area. Most of them are known for Bengali dishes. There are several restaurants here that are very popular with food lovers. He also has a great inclination for cooking. “I spend most of my time on YouTube watching recipes from home and abroad,” he said. But he could not find a recipe for Bengali cooking in a remote village. “So the idea of creating our own YouTube channel emerged,” he said.