A little Sardar boy rolling his eyes and delivering prompt one-liners in TikTok videos has Punjab in splits these days. The videos have become a major draw amid the lockdown. But what the 5-year-old's fans don't know is that the "boy in patka" they see on screen is actually a girl -- Noorpreet Kaur, aka Noor, from village Bhinder Kalan of Moga.
The videos that star Noor are conceptualised by Sandeep Toor (23), who runs a grocery store in the village. Thanks to Noor, he says, his account's following has shot by 5 lakh in just ten days. Seen in the TikTok videos that Toor uploads, are Noor, her sister Jashanpreet (9), Varan (a mason who plays Noor's father/uncle), Toor himself and other kids from village.
Noor and her sister Jashanpreet, are the children of a daily wager in the village. Noor's father, Satnam Singh, works as a labourer at a brick-kiln, while her mother is a homemaker. She and her sister study at village's government primary school.
One of the videos starring Noor that has been widely shared has her playing a boy who is scared to share his school result with his father. As the moment finally arrives in the video, the boy tells his father, "Yaar doctor daa munda fail ho geya... bapu yaar sarpanch di kudi vi fail ho gai..' (Doctor's son has flunked, sarpanch's daughter too has failed to clear her exams)."
When the father presses on with the question and demand's to know his son's result, Noor dressed as the sardar boy replies, "Tu kehda DC lagga, tera vala vi fail ho geya... (Are you posted as a deputy commissioner? Your kid has also failed)."
While Noor is a constant chatter box in her videos, in real life she doesn't know what to say about her videos going viral. Speaking to The Indian Express, she said, "I study in nursery class. I like acting in these videos. I say what Sandeep uncle tells me to."
Her sister Jashanpreet (9), however, has more to say, "Since our videos have gone viral, relatives and family friends who never used to speak to us are calling my parents. They are asking if they can take Noor to their home for some days but my mother has denied, at least till lockdown is there."
Sandeep Toor, whose TikTok account now has crossed 8 lakh followers, says that both kids used to visit his shop to buy grocery when one day he just thought of experimenting. "Earlier, I was uploading only my videos but then I thought of experimenting with kids. Noor and Jashan used to visit my shop often and I noticed, Noor's parents had raised her like a boy. She used dress up like a boy and sometimes wear a patka too. She would even talk like a boy. The entire idea just clicked with viewers. I had just 3 lakh followers ten days back and now they are 8 lakh. All because of Noor..."
Villagers say that TV channels have also been requesting interviews with Noor. "We are not letting Noor give interviews as of now. It was all for fun but now hundreds of calls are pouring in everyday.
Her parents are in disbelief still that their kid has become so famous instantly but entire village is very happy," says Sandeep.
As her family and friends try to protect her from prying cameras, Noor plays on unaware of her TikTok fame that has made Punjab stop and notice her nondescript village.