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At home on the small screen

A still from an episode of ‘Malayali Veettamma’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Reality shows for homemakers aren’t a novelty on Malayalam television. Some of those shows gave talented women many opportunities to showcase their flair for the arts. A recent entrant in this category of reality shows is ‘Malayali Veettamma’ on Flowers TV, produced by Anoop John.

He started his career on Asianet and was associate producer of ‘Comedy Festival’ and producer of ‘Ividingananu Bhai’, both on Mazhavil Manorama. Anoop has also produced ‘Comedy Super Nite’ on Flowers, which won the Kerala state award for the best television show in the entertainment category (2015). In an interview with Friday Review, Anoop talks about his new show:

Anoop John, producer of ‘Malayali Veettamma’

Anoop John, producer of ‘Malayali Veettamma’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The contestants

Twenty women are vying for the title of Malayali Veettamma. We had around 4,000 entries, including several from across India and abroad. Two rounds of auditions were held before we finalised the contestants. Most of them are working women.

There is a college lecturer, a lawyer, business women and IT professionals among the participants. Actually we had a lot of contestants from Dubai, but some of them had to withdraw because they couldn’t stay away from their jobs for long.

How is it different from similar shows?

Previous shows for homemakers were either family-oriented or gave a lot of importance to extracurricular activities. But, during the selection, our preference was for smart contestants. We have devised tasks that are rooted in our lifestyle.

The competition

There are both indoor and outdoor tasks. Indoor tasks are for both groups and individuals. We made them do household chores the traditional way, such as using a grinding stone for preparing masalas and dough and washing clothes on a washing stone. Preparing ethnic dishes was another task.

Outdoor activities included contributing for a social cause. We had a contestant who went for a tonsure and donated her hair to make wigs for cancer patients.

They also have to do arduous tasks. One such assignment was to plant coconut saplings, for which they had to buy a sapling, prepare the ground and dig a pit among other things.

Judging panel

Celebrities and successful women entrepreneurs judge the contestants. While Vindhuja Menon and Jomol have been part of most of the episodes, others who were part of the panel were actors Sheela, Rekha and Nikki Galrani, entrepreneurs such as Beena Kannan and Ambika Pillai among others. Rajini Chandy (Oru Muthassi Gadha-fame) is present in every episode, guiding and judging the contestants.

Experience so far

The group is pretty chilled out. It is as though they are on a vacation. They also support each other a lot, which came as a huge surprise for us. The support of their families is remarkable. What makes us happy is that some of them have had a personality makeover, thanks to the efforts of their groomer and mentor, Jayaprakash Kuloor, actor and stage artiste.

His classes have helped them to shed their inhibitions. We were quite sceptical about certain contestants, but the way they have changed is incredible. They have started making decisions on their own and have become more confident as individuals. They are not afraid of taking risks. In one of the episodes we asked them whether they could pluck coconuts. They did it, much to our pleasant surprise!

(‘Malayali Veettamma’ airs on Flowers channel on weekends at 9 p.m.)

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 11:58:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/At-home-on-the-small-screen/article17127566.ece

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