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Serialised success

His rise to success has not been a cake-walk, but today Venu Arvind is a name to reckon with on the small screen. A profile...


"I dreamt of being another MGR," laughs Venu Arvind, the toast of the TV world, perched comfortably on the bean bag at his modest Ashok Nagar residence. Trying to straighten his dishevelled hair, Venu recalls the time when, like most teenagers, smitten by superhero MGR's mesmerising mass appeal, he resolved to enter the reel world. But soon faced the bitter realities of nursing such starry desires. "Coming from a conservative family, this could have been the craziest career choice. But my parents let me have my way and even encouraged me to give it my best shot," he avers. His parents' advice and support worked wonders, for after more than a decade of existence as an almost non-entity, Venu has emerged as the man of the moment, hogging the limelight with his histrionics in three popular mega soaps — "Agnisakshi" (Vijay TV), "Alaigal" (Sun TV) and "Janani" (Sun TV).

With hardly any trace of the tiring shooting schedules, Venu clad smartly in T-shirt and a pair of jeans, seems unaffected by all the adulation and attention. "I know about the fickle tastes of fans. They like to remember you as long as you continue to get work. So are the producers, they literally want to own you till your name sells, but once out of reckoning, nobody even recognises you. Weird are the ways of the small and the big bad world," states Venu nonchalantly.

Those who have turned TV buffs after the satellite channel boom may not be aware that Venu had done many serials for DD (when it was the lone entertainer) like "Alaiosai", "Rishimoolam" etc. But the actor arrived with "Raghuvamsam", which is said to be the first Tamil soap and was telecast on Sun TV. AVM's "Vaizhkai" was the next highpoint. Besides, he has also done some insignificant roles in a few films. "I learnt the grammar of acting and the art of breaking it to lend an individual touch in Poornam Viswanathan sir's theatre group, while in college. Fortunately, plays managed to draw full houses then. So, the experience was both enriching and exciting".

Thanks to the thriving television industry, it has helped talented actors like Venu vent their creative excellence. "But one has to be quick on the uptake and show positive results to survive the tough competition. May be that's why other language artistes can't fit in here," he points out.

Basically a director's artiste, but once before the camera, Venu loves to improvise if the script allows. He hates his scenes to look laboured and monotonous. For instance, in his latest serial "Janani", where he plays a mentally challenged person, he has done some homework to deliberately avoid being melodramatic "for that might lead to a feeling of aversion for the character".


Though he has been playing Ranga for almost two years in "Alaigal", Venu feels it's in the director's hands to give interesting twists and turns to keep the audience and artistes' interest alive. "And Sundar K. Vijayan seems to have a flair for it".

Extremely forthright, Venu feels tele-serials need socially committed writers who can come up with sensible and neat fare for the family audience. "We need more Balachanders, who can offer wholesome entertainment," he says.

In complete awe of the veteran director's work, Venu feels Balachander is one of the best things to have happened to television. "Otherwise, the frightening trend to resort to sex and violence to pep up TRP ratings can prove disastrous, especially on young minds," he states emphatically.

As for his children (a son and a daughter), they have grown up watching their father dabbing make-up and mouthing heavy dialogue. "But my son gets upset when he sees me crying on screen," says the actor. So apparently, Venu is waiting to do a comedy. With an overdose of tear-jerkers and viewers waiting for a comic relief, Venu can surely laugh his way into their hearts.

CHITRA SWAMINATHAN

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