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A laugh rioter

Mimicry has put him in the spotlight but films still elude Shiva Reddy


I get charged seeing the crowds. Their applause works like a tonic



COMEDY KING Actor Shiva Reddy makes people laugh for a living

Shiva Reddy has worked in over 50 films as a comedian and he is still striving to make a mark in the industry. He may not be very popular in films but on stage as a mimicry artiste, he has the distinction of making even the most poker-faced VIP's cracking up. He is just not creative and humorous but his jokes are lively and thought provoking. The actor says that he's constantly asked why he is not able to make it big in the movies. "It's not that I'm not making an effort, I've gone around seeking work but there has been disappointment at every step and that's the reason I'm concentrating on stage shows."

The actor grew up mimicking people and loves to dance too, he recollects being reprimanded by his brother for dancing at a stranger's baarat. He loves watching Rajendra Prasad's movies because even his flop film has something funny to talk about.. For most comedians, being funny all the time works so well for them that they can't afford to risk straying from that behaviour that is expected of them. But this has got Shiva Reddy into trouble too. Some loved the mockery and some others found it offensive. In the process he lost many offers from popular production houses.

Shiva Reddy had been to America some time back to perform and 8,000 people gave him a standing ovation. Shiva says he doesn't practice but surfs channels when at home and observes people very keenly. He adds, "I get charged seeing the crowds. Their applause works like a tonic. I had been to Dubai last year and just a few hours before the show I collapsed due to physical strain. I kept goading myself to walk up to the stage and perform and I did it. I can never go back on my commitments whatsoever."

Shiva says, "I'll never forget the experience of standing on a stage with zillion pairs of eyes staring at me, waiting to be entertained, while I get a call that my brother was in the hospital in a critical condition. Another time I was carrying my brother to the crematorium, the organiser wanted me to be at the studio at any cost because it was with great difficulty they had sought the dates of a dancer. I fulfilled my commitment, I danced but I cried only after I returned home."

Shiva Reddy's take on comedy:"It would be impossible to survive the hardships of human life without humour. People who laugh more cope better with the stress of daily life, they live longer and are healthier. My profession has helped me bond with many people."

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY

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