Actor Suresh Gopi turns host in Ningalkum Akam Kodeeshwaran

Come Monday, film actor Suresh Gopi will be seen in his new avatar as the host of Ningalkum Akam Kodeeshwaran (NAK), the Malayalam version of Kaun Banega Crorepathi (KBC), on Asianet. The star sheds his image of the tough cop to host the game that has a devoted following in India.

In a previous interview to the The Friday Review, the star had made it clear that he had no plans of trying to imitate Amitabh Bachchan's signature style of hosting the show in Hindi. Instead, he said, he would try to bring his own individuality to the show.

Offer of hope

The star says what attracted him to the game was its offer of hope to its contestants. “I was humbled by the grit of the participants. Many of them are fighting the odds with such determination and grace,” he says.

Trained by none other Siddartha Basu, Suresh says he has gained a lot from his interaction with the celebrity quiz master who redefined the concept of quiz shows in India.

Although most of it had to do with the hosting of the show, he says he was surprised to find out how emotionally and physically exhausting it was to anchor the programme and interact with the participants.

“We are not allowed to help or offer any kind of clues to the contestants, no matter how deserving they may be. So when a person carelessly loses his/her chance to continue in the game, all I can do is watch and stick to the rules of the game. But we give them plenty of time to think and rethink their decision to go with a particular choice,” he says.

He says he was pleasantly surprised to discover that the show had received a record number of applications. Game shows are not new for Malayali audiences as there are other shows hosted by leading stars as well. But what is special about NAK is the excitement that KBC had created during previous editions of the game show.

“There is a certain good will for the show and many viewers are familiar with the rules of the game. Each one of the contestants are in the show with a definite aim. So, there is a feeling of good will when you are a part of a show like that,” he says. Agreeing that it is a new phase in his career, Suresh says that while television might be another chapter in his career, cinema is certainly his homeground.

But he emphasises that until he is confident about the Malayali audience, a role like that in Kaliyattam and Summer in Bethlehem might have to wait. “I was deeply disappointed that a film like Melvilasam did not have takers. In my opinion, it was one of the finest films made last year,” he says.

But, he adds that what he really wants to be is a singer. “If I want to learn a certain song, I play it when I am driving and sing along at the top of my voice. I keep practising till I get it right,” he adds.

And how putting down in black and white his strong views on public issues that he is not afraid to voice? “That might happen too, when I have time on my hands. Many well wishers have remarked that I should write.”

Now that should be another interesting chapter in the career of this star who has never stopped inventing himself.

The show is at 8 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., Mondays to Thursdays.

Lending a hand

Suresh Gopi says that when an investment of his reaps a certain amount of money, he plans to spend Rs. 10 crores on 10 films each. “I want to encourage new directors and scriptwriters and help them turn their nascent stories into films.”