Nesamani: Who is he and why is the world praying for him?

Who is Nesamani and why is seemingly everyone in the world praying for him on Twitter?

Many Indians were left wondering what was going on as #Pray_for_Neasamani and #Nesamani began trending first in India and then across the world.

And no-one seemed to know him – apart from those from the southern state of Tamil Nadu who began the trend.

Contractor Nesamani is actually a fictional character from a 2001 Tamil film played by an iconic comedian.

The “plea” to pray for him is based on a scene from the popular film Friends.

In the scene, Nesamani is a building contractor played by actor Vadivelu. He is trying to restore a historic building, but is struggling with his bumbling assistants who insist on taking everything he says literally.

Disaster soon strikes.

One of them, who is trying to fix a doorway at the top of a staircase, drops his hammer. It lands right on top of Nesamani’s head, causing him to (very theatrically) fall down.

#Nesamani is still the number one trend in India on Twitter, and also the second trend worldwide.

But why is this trending now?

According to Sowmya Rajendran, the film and features editor for the south Indian website The News Minute, it all began with a memes page in Pakistan on Wednesday.

Someone on the page, called Civil Engineering Learners, posted a picture of a hammer with the question “what is the name of this tool in your country?”.

This prompted an alert Tamil Facebook user to comment that it was called Suthiyal in his language and then added, without any context whatsoever, that “contractor Nesamani’s head was broken… with it”.

“Another Tamil user who was clearly in on the joke answered ‘is he ok now?’ and that’s where it all began,” Ms Rajendran said.

Other Tamil users began commenting as well, all making references to the scene from the film.

And soon, it took on a life of its own.

On Twitter, people began “praying for him” and the memes it seems, wouldn’t stop coming.

Nothing was spared. People referenced “hospital bulletins” similar to those issued when prominent state politicians are sick and there were even photoshopped ‘tweets’ from world leaders.