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Surya signing off...

The young, talented host of Kairali TV's Dial-a-Song, Surya, all of 11 years old, has bid adieu to the show to move abroad with her family.

When the idea of propping up a phone-in programme took shape in his mind, Santhosh Palee wanted it to be unique, something that was totally new on TV. That was when his eyes fell on a bubbly, chirpy and hyperactive 11-year-old. There were no second thoughts. Yes, it was Surya, the `oh-cho-chweet' anchor of the Kairali programme, `Dial-a-Song'.

Surya's first appointment with the arc lights was at a very young age, when she modelled for advertisements. She has many prizes under her belt for elocution, recitation and mime, and is a good dancer, with training in both classical and western dances.

Surya also represented Kerala in roller-skating at the national level and even bagged the silver medal.

But it was only with lots of encouragement from her parents and the Kairali crew that Surya decided to take the plunge; and went on to do 98 episodes successfully.

There is uniqueness in her presentation and the questions she asks are simple yet tricky. Her treasure trove of questions is quite often filled with inputs from the letters she gets, the Internet and her "friends" at Kairali.

The recognition and glamour apart, the showbiz never quite attracted her. A lot of offers for TV serials and movies followed, but it's study time for her now. Even for `Dial-a-Song', only evenings were allotted for shoots, that too, after the study hours.

Surya was also a popular figure in St. Shantal School, where she was doing her sixth grade, before migrating to the U.S. with her parents and brother recently.

She likes to watch `Tom and Jerry' and `Popeye' on Cartoon Network. She also watches `Aswamedham'. "But I'm not a TV addict," she says. She likes to read comics. She also reads the newspaper daily, a habit that helped her a lot during the shows.

Surya, with the help of her mother who is a web designer, has started a site, www.kidtalks.com, where she can be contacted. The site is exclusively for kids.

Kairali dedicated to Surya the last episode of the programme she anchored. Proof enough of the popularity she enjoyed.

AMBIKA VARMA

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