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Blazing a comedy trail

ATHIRA M.
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K .S. Prasad says he is always happy. The veteran mimicry artiste has been in the field for the last 37 years. While there are umpteen mimicry artistes who moved to tinsel town, Prasad is content running his mimicry troupe Cochin Guinnes and his comedy programme, ‘Comediyum Mimicsum Pinne Njaanum’ on Kairali TV. Recently the programme completed 500 episodes. Excerpts from an interview with the artiste…

Road to Kalabhavan

I started off with mono-act and gradually shifted to mimicry. I used to win prizes at youth festivals. I joined Kalabhavan in 1980. The association continues till date, though I left the troupe in 1989-90, as its board member. I’m proud that when Kalabhavan launched mimics parade in Kerala, on September 21, 1981, I was among the performers. The others were Lal (actor, director, producer), Siddique (director), Kalabhavan Ansar, Kalabhavan Rahman and Varkkichan Pettah.

Journey with Cochin Guinnes

I formed Cochin Guinnes in 1989 and in 1991 we launched the first ever mimicry video cassette in Kerala. We featured the mimics parade of the Cochin Oscar troupe and then of Kalabhavan. Our first outdoor shoot was for Harisree Mimics Parade, which had Dileep, Harisree Asokan, N.F. Varghese, Ramesh Kurumassery, Eloor George and Santosh Kurumassery. This concept was copied by others. We brought out 25-odd cassettes. Even though many mimicry troupes have fallen apart, Cochin Guinnes still does a lot of programmes. Usually artistes drop out at regular intervals. Even in my troupe, artistes leave in between in search of greener pastures. But thankfully there is a regular inflow of good talent. I feel proud that many artistes who’ve now made it big in cinema were once associated with my troupe.

Comedy is…

The underlying factor about humour/comedy is that it always comes from tragedy. That is, you laugh at another person’s folly. Earlier there was only pure humour but now we’ve turned satirical. I believe that the humour in Toms’ cartoon strips or Chemmanam Chacko’s poems is different from the humour in a stage show or reality show.

‘Comediyum Mimicsum Pinne Njaanum’

We have different sections in the show. For instance, in ‘Mr and Mrs Panicker’, social issues are presented through the lives of the couple (played by Prasad and Devichandana). ‘Dundumon’, ‘Comedy Brothers’, parody songs and ‘dupe show’ are the other segements.

Why are you averse to films?

Cinema has never attracted me, although I have received various offers. I’m proud to be a pioneer in many things and have performed on over 3,500 stages, of which 500 were abroad. That I’m the first government nominated mimicry artiste to the Sangeetha Natak Akademi is an achievement in itself.

(‘Comediyum Mimicsum Pinne Njaanum’ is aired on Fridays at 7.30 p.m. )

ATHIRA M.


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