Mastanamma, the 107-year-old grandmother from Andhra Pradesh's Guntur village, who shot to fame after her cooking videos were uploaded on to YouTube, passed away after a six-month-long illness. Her YouTube channel, Country Foods, garnered around 12 lakh subscribers over the course of its two year run, making Mastanamma the world's oldest YouTuber.
The news of her demise came after fans began enquiring about why videos had stopped being uploaded on her channeland about her health. The channel, which was started and is run by Hyderabad-based mediapersons K Laxman and Srinath Reddy, then broke the news of her passing through a video, which recorded her final journey as her village mourned her.
Laxman, who was distantly related to the centenarian, first uploaded a video of her preparing a brinjal curry for visitors back in 2016, and the video quickly had over 75,000 videos. Encouraged by the response, Laxman and Reddy soon began uploading videos of her preparing dishes, known ones and unusual ones, on YouTube, naming the channel Country Foods, due to the rural setting and Mastanamma's culinary technique, which saw her preparing each item from scratch.
While she quickly became popular for her many seafood preparations, Mastanamma also enjoyed cooking more esoteric dishes, which were local to her community as well as her own experiments, from Big Pig Head and Whole Lamb Heads to Watermelon Chicken and snail curries, and even her own take on KFC-style fried chicken with Andhra spices. More insterestingly, the sprightly super-senior citizen was extremely tactile, using just her hands to peel everything from potatoes to tomatoes, and each episode began with her first collecting seasonal ingredients from the markets and woods in her river-side village.
In an interview with TNM last year, Srinath spoke of his very first meeting with Mastanamma, saying, "She was so active, and led such a busy lifestyle. She loved to be independent, and lived alone, while her son stayed in a house adjacent to hers. We loved her attitude, and decided to shoot videos with her."
The rest, as they say, is history.