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What is the good word?

Sabumon tells SARASWATHY NAGARAJAN why many viewers get tongue-tied when they speak to him during his show


Participants have to carry on a conversation in Malayalam with Sabu and answer his questions for four minutes



WORD PERFECT Sabumon anchors `Attahasam' on Asianet Plus

What is the Malayalam word for geometry? And the names of the instruments, again in Malayalam... To find out one has to tune in to watch Sabumon's programme on Asianet Plus called `Attahasam.' The name and the contents of the programme have nothing in common. There is nothing that makes you break into gales of laughter. But it makes you smile and rack your brains to keep up with the interactive game show.

Unlike many of the live shows that thrive on inane chatter and puppy love, this one is a game that has viewers from all age groups calling to pit their wits against the anchor Sabumon. Participants have to carry on a conversation in Malayalam with Sabu and answer his questions for four minutes. The catch is that no other language other than Malayalam should be used. Those who are able to carry on the conversation for four minutes are given prizes.

Stumped for answers

One of the callers was a deputy secretary. "She was stumped when I asked what her designation was, as she was unable to find the right word in Malayalam for deputy secretary," recalls Sabu with a grin.

On another occasion, a Plus Two student replied that he was a student of Adhikam Randu, a literal translation of Plus Two.

Sabu, a graduate in Malayalam literature, admits that he never expected the show to be so well received by viewers.

"The idea was floated by the former CEO of Asianet Mohan Nair. He almost forced it upon us. By then we had already decided the name of the programme and the montage for the promo had also been done. It was all done for a different kind of show. In the hurry, inadvertently, we forgot to change the name of the programme to make it suit the game show. That is why it is still called `Attahasam," explains Sabu.

Seeking guidance

Once it connected with the viewers, Sabu found that there were times he had turn to his former teachers to find the correct word in Malayalam for certain terms.

"I ask a question and viewers are requested to SMS the answer. They are asked to find the Malayalam equivalent for an English word. Sometimes, I seek the help of M. Sardar Kutty who taught me Malayalam in college. My sister, Lijimol, a graduate in English Literature also helps me." His affinity to languages seem to be have been inherited from his father, Abdu Samad, a teacher of Arabic.

However, comic programmes seem to be his forte as Sabu had made his name with `Tharikida' on Surya TV. "I got the offer while I was still a student in University College," says Sabu who now practises law under Clarence Miranda.

Made on the lines of MTV Bhakra, `Tharikida' became a hit with students and he became a familiar face on the small screen. In addition to `Atahasam,' Sabu also does a three-minute filler called `Endum Cheyum Sukumaran,' a take on super heroes of our times.

For Sabu, the right word now is `success.'

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