Grandmothers (nanis/dadis/paatis/aajis) are sweet, beyond affectionate and always trying to stuff food down your face. They’re also badass AF. Ask your own grandmom about the lives she’s lived and we can guarantee you’ll never see her the same way again.
Much like actress, food writer and TV presenter Madhur Jaffrey, who stars in this hilarious music video by New York-based Indian rapper, Mr. Cardamom as a badass Nani. Jaffrey, now 85, plays Criminal Nani who smokes copious amounts of weed, runs a drug syndicate, and slaps her bitchy grandson every chance she gets.
Her sultry whispers are reminiscent of Tyga’s Rack City: “I’m the best fuckin’ nani that you ever done seen, fuck Top 5 Nanis and fuck Top 3, I’m the Number one Nani, don’t fuck with me.”
Jaffrey has never been more damning. Not that she was ever going to be a regular grandmother. In 1973, she took things out of her own kitchen, put them out into the world, and shot to fame for her debut cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking. In 1982, she also started her own cooking show on TV, Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery. Back in the day, both were staple fare in every Indian home.
Jaffrey’s background makes her transformation into rap gangsta Nani all the more surprising and cool. In the video, she embodies the style and swagger of a young rapper and her slaps are as hard as she is.
The song was written, directed and performed by 27-year-old Mr. Cardamom (Zohran Mamdani), a Uganda-born Indian rapper based in New York. His love of Indian food comes through in his work, not just because of his collaboration with Jaffrey but with his previous song as well, titled Chapati.
The video is impeccably shot and edited, not least due to Mamdani’s rich filmy heritage (his mom is Mira Nair). However, it’s his music that leaves a lasting impression with the chorus of NAAAANI getting stuck in the head of anybody watching this video. Godspeed.