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Updated: January 17, 2013 20:22 IST

Seriously funny

Athira M.
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Ramesh Pisharody
The Hindu Ramesh Pisharody

Ramesh Pisharody is quite serious when it comes to humour. The artiste who has been around for about a decade now with his mimicry and stand-up comedy shows, be it on television or stage, takes pride in his profession. He now divides his time between stage shows and movies. More from Ramesh…

Did you always want to become a mimic?

Not really. It was serendipity. While doing my class one and two in Kendriya Vidyalaya at Velloor, I was jealous of other children who studied in Malayalam medium schools since their classes began very late and Saturdays were holidays for them unlike us. So, after much coaxing, my parents shifted me to a Malayalam medium school. But, when the youth festival came I couldn’t take part in any literary competition because I wasn’t fluent in Malayalam.

Mimicry was the only event without a participant. So, I entered my name. I was the only contestant and came first! Perhaps I had a flair for comedy.

Although mimicry was in its nascent stage in the state then, that experience somehow got me hooked to mimicry and I continued to win prizes in school and in college. By the time I reached class seven, mimicry had become very popular. What gave me an impetus was the second prize that I won in a youth fete of the Mahatma Gandhi University. People started noticing me and I started getting stage programmes as well. When actor Salim Kumar formed his mimicry troupe, Cochin Stallions in 2000, I joined and was with it for four years. In the meantime, I did my graduation in politics from Devaswom Board College, Thalayolapparambu. After leaving Cochin Stallions, I teamed up with Sajan Palluruthy and did many programmes with him.

On television

My first television programme was an Onam special event with Salim Kumar on Asianet. Then came programmes with Sajan and many episodes of ‘Cinemala’. When Asianet Plus was launched in 2005, I started ‘Bluffmasters’ with Dharmajan. It ran for over 450 episodes.

Mimicry today

Mimicry has got a lot of acceptance now. Now Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi gives away the Yuva Prathibha award for young talents, which include mimicry artistes as well. Incidentally, I was the first recipient. But, unfortunately few new talents are coming in. Nobody wants to make it a profession. The artistes you see in comedy-based reality shows are those who have been around for the last few years. It is good that they are getting a platform.

A strenuous job

Nowadays, mimicry/stand-up comedy is about making maximum people laugh in a minimum time. Naturally quality suffers. Also, social networking sites are doing enough damage these days. Whatever we present on a stage is recorded and posted immediately. It goes viral and we can’t repeat the same on another stage since the audience would say they’ve already seen it! It is not easy to come up with new skits in a short duration, especially when we are doing a string of shows abroad. A lot of strain is involved in making people laugh. We’ve to be up-to-date about everything.

Cinema

I’m into movies, but don’t nurture any big ambitions since I know where I stand. I’ve done five films now after my debut in Positive. I am now acting in Kamal’s Celluloid and Lal Jose’s Immanuel.

Athira M.

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