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Fielding on a comic track

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

Cricketer Sadagopan Ramesh and actor Chinni Jayanth will come together on Vijay TV as judges of a Comedy Talent Hunt show that begins on November 11.



Sadagopan Ramesh.

The first line of the foot-tapping number from `Vasool Raja MBBS' aptly forms the title of the weekly Comedy Talent Hunt on Vijay, which opens on November 11. Envisaged on the lines of `The Great Indian Laughter Challenge' on STAR One that has the spontaneous Shekhar Suman and the garrulous Navjot Singh Sidhu as judges, `Kalakka Povadhu Yaaru?' with Hutch as its title sponsor, will be telecast Fridays, 10-11 p.m. The judges of the Tamil version will be one of Vijay TV's favourite comedian-host Chinni Jayanth, and the cricketer with a witty sense of humour, Sadagopan Ramesh. Uma Riyaz will be the hostess of `Kalakka Povadhu ... '

Why Ramesh?

"I'm glad Vijay approached me for a format show of this kind. They actually adjusted the dates of shoot for my sake. And I'm impressed with their discipline. As a cricketer, my busiest days of the year are the three months beginning November," says Ramesh. Why did the channel zero in on Ramesh? "His sense of humour is incredible. He did a fabulous job even as a guest in Yuhi Sethu's `Naiyaandi Darbar.' And after watching his flair for comedy during the shoots we are convinced that Ramesh is the right choice," says a crewmember. "I'm surprised at his quick responses and astute repartees. He has a very good sense of timing," Chinni Jayanth adds.



Chinni Jayanth.

"Basically I'm a fun-loving person. And the pranks we play in the dressing room when we get together for matches help us unwind after the tension of the game. The Sachin you see on the field is serious but catch him in the dressing room and you'll know what a jovial guy he is. So is Venkatesh Prasad, for that matter all of us. So I'm just being myself on the show," Ramesh responds.

The format

Vijay TV is very sure about the success of `Kalakka Povadhu ... ' As of now 17 episodes have been planned. When the channel called for contestants who would like to showcase their skill in comedy, the number exceeded 1,500. Around 400 were short-listed, out of which 50 were selected. The first 10 segments will comprise the prelims, with five participants in each trying to impress the judges. The winners will move on to the quarter, semi and eventually the finals.

Mimicking skills

From what you get to watch at the shooting at AVM Studios, in Chennai, many of the participants seem to identify mimicry with comedy. "That's right. I even wonder whether they do it because I'm sitting here," laughs Jayanth. The actor's mimicking skills are only too well known. His `Sagalai Ragalai,' again on Vijay, was more or less based on mimicry. "More than the programme, I feel Vijay is keen on promoting me, which even cinema has not done for me. And tapping talent among the public that may never see the light of day otherwise is a great job. I'm enjoying every moment of it," he smiles.

Isn't there a chance of bawdiness in dialogue creeping in, in the name of humour? If you remember, obscenity did play a part in a few of the `Sagalai Ragalai' episodes. But Vijay TV assures you that as it has complete control over the script of `Kalakka Povadhu ... ' vulgarity can never find a place. Suddenly channels seem to evince more interest in game shows, talent hunt and the like, probably in a bid to woo youngsters. "Why only youth? All age groups love humour," is Vijay TV's contention.

"This will be an inspirational show. I hope Vijay TV takes it a long way," says Ramesh. "It's a fantastic platform for those adept at comedy," comments Jayanth. So does Ramesh feel elated to be Tamil television's answer to Sidhu? "I don't think it's a compliment. I liked the concept and I'm doing it. Period. Sidhu being in `The Great Indian Laughter Challenge' has nothing to do with my decision to be a part of "Kalakka Povadhu ... '" is the cricketer's Parthian shot.

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