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Wit is his forte



Vijayasarathy

For some people the advice, "Talk less - work more", makes no sense; for them talking is tantamount to working. Call them comperes or video/radio jockeys or just anchors, they fall in this category. And one among this genre from Chennai was in Visakhapatnam recently to do a shoot.

Meet Vijayasarathy, the compere of one of the most popular info-tainment show on Sun TV, 'Neengal Ketta Paadal' (film song of your choice). He is also a regular face in television serials and films.

During his 'Neengal Ketta Paadal' mission in Vizag, Vijay had taken some time off to meet this scribe and discuss his journey to stardom.

Though he happens to be the son of the late Tamil actor Sasi Kumar, Vijay never dreamt of joining the entertainment industry until a couple of years ago.

He narrates his sojourn into 'dream factory' thus: "My parents left this world when I was barely three years old. Since then I was brought up by my maternal grandmother, so the film industry was way beyond my reach. After completing my post-graduation in zoology, I started my career as a medical representative with Hindustan Ciba-Geigy selling tranquillisers. But today after spending a couple of years in the industry I realise that Ciba was the place where I unknowingly picked up and sharpened my inherent strength of communication skills. My job at Ciba impelled me to initiate dialogues with unkown persons and pose questions to them. Today that's what I am exactly doing but in a different format and platform."

How did the transformation from medical rep to television anchor happen?

"Ciba transferred me to Assam and that was the period when insurgency was at its peak. After having lost my parents in a tragic fire accident my old grandparents did not allow me to go to Assam, hence I resigned and joined Kirloskars for some time. After a brief stint over there, on an advice from a friend of mine I joined JJ TV (now Jaya TV) as producer and compere. Three months after I joined, JJ wound up. And that was the beginning of my struggling days.

"I do not remember seeing my dad in person except in the recorded movies but it was during those days that his goodwill worked like miracle for me. I started introducing myself as son of Sasi Kumar and I was instantly accepted. I got my first major break as an actor in a serial called 'Marmadesam' directed by Naga and that was the turning point in my life. It was there that I picked up the nuances of acting. But the major break was when I clinched the role of Fraud Kannan in the soap opera, 'Chitthi' ('Pinni' in Telugu). I was instantly recognised as an actor and, thereafter, offers kept pouring."

Today Vijay is instantly recognised in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh. Apart from playing the lead roles in serials like 'Vikramaditya' and 'Chitthi' he has also acted in a couple of Tamil films as hero.

On 'Neengal Keta Paadal', he says, "This is basically an info-tainment show where we visit different locations and give a brief report about the place right from its historic facts to economic developments, and in the end we focus on a tourist couple and play a song of their choice. This programme is extremely popular on Sun TV and its TRP rating is one among the top few.

"As part of this programme I have toured almost entire India and a couple of foreign countries. I have even toured Errawadi and Velachery after the disasters and these episodes not only touched the people's heart but were also well appreciated for its contents."

For a compere to succeed, is it essential that one should be blessed with good looks and a motor mouth?

Vijaysarathy shakes his head. "Apart from the gift of the gab one should be well informed and witty. It is true that the vocal chords deliver the words but the word factory is in the brain. A compere who can inform and as well entertain will last longer. He or she should be constantly on the job to strengthen one's repertoire, as one should remember that presence of mind is a sine qua non for compering. And as far as good looks are concerned, it is not at all a criterion. My success is due to the 'boy next door' image, just simple average looking."

Though Vijay likes to make it big in films, his first love is TV. "Today TV is a strong and effective medium and I like interactive shows. Right now Ihost a celebrity talk show in air for Sun TV and its popularity is already on the rise."

SUMIT BHATTACHARJEE

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