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Comedy proves a cakewalk

Karunas had charted his course very early in life and the deviation he took has been very fruitful. MALATHI RANGARAJAN



Twin interests: Karunas

If Vadivelu can pull it off with confidence and Vivek can give it a try, can Karunas be far behind? So the latest is that he will soon, like his colleagues, join the ranks of comedian-turned-heroes!

“The reach of cinema and the popularity that comes with it is something I wasn’t prepared for,” says Karunas, as he re-lives the ‘Nanda’ days. “Before I realised it I was rushed off my feet!” For all that, Karunas’ re-mix albums had made him known to listeners as far away as London, even before he got into films. “Now with 72 films to his credit, the just released ‘Saadhu Miranda,’ has for the first time, the title ‘Comedy King’ along with Karunas’ name in the credits! “Director Siddique has been kind to honour me so,” says Karunas for whom the opportunity to act in films knocked at his door. Sensibly, he didn’t miss the bus. In fact he steadfastly held on to it!

A flashback

When just12 years old, Karunas decided his career will be in music. He was one of the early birds to cash in on the popularity the ‘ghana’ genre offered. So much so, that after his first album he came to be referred to as ‘Ghana’ Karunas. He sings paeans to Yugi Sethu whose ‘Naiyandi Durbar’ show on TV had Karunas’ Maestro Orchestra forming the backdrop and providing the music. The sessions had celebrities being interviewed by Sethu. And one day when he could find none, Sethu made Karunas take the VIP seat.

“I had cut 22 discs and was the first to venture into remixes before I got into films. My CD of Chandrababu songs, in which the opening number welcomed the millennium, was a major hit. My wife Grace and I had sung the songs and it sold well in London. Director Bala had heard it there, and knew me by face from the wrapper. So when he saw me on the Durbar show, he called me over,” says Karunas.

As he had done mimicry shows in college, when Bala asked him to act impromptu, Karunas did it with ease. Once Bala told him what the part involved, Karunas did thorough homework. He had to have a different gait, he was told. And soon Karunas was ready with half dozen different walks, for Bala to choose from. Yet little did he know then that acting would become his profession. Till date ‘Lodukku’ Pandi (the character he portrayed in ‘Nanda’) lives on.

Was getting into film distribution the next step? “Please! It was a mistake. I tried it twice with ‘Pori’ and ‘Katradhu Tamizh’ and lost a lot of money,” he confesses. So as of now, besides acting he plans to traverse more into music.

“My wife is a great support. She’s trained in classical and keeps our orchestra active. My son is a singer and drummer and my daughter is adept at playing the piano,” says Karunas. The couple plans to promote a fusion of village music. “We tried it out at a show recently and the response was overwhelming. My film popularity surely helps,” he laughs.

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