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Offloads fun but hurts none

Mimicry artist Sethu is in his father’s shoes to perfection and is perhaps rungs above in the success ladder

Photo: R. Ashok

Inimitable Keeping audience in good spirits

Son following father’s footsteps is not new. But inheriting dad’s talent and pursuing the same profession, perhaps is. For Sethu, son of noted mimicry artist Sivagangai Sethurajan, his greatest bequest from his father is the versatile voi ce.

Sethu’s penchant for mimicry began at an age when he was too young to realise his father’s fame. He emulated the mannerisms of famous personalities, whom his father met. “I loved the voice of M.G. Ramachandran. When I was five, I visited his home. While my dad was engaged in a discussion with the then chief minister, I observed his voice modulation and mimicked it,” Sethu recalls.

Worthy present

Thoroughly impressed, M.G.R. presented a bicycle to him. “I still treasure it because it is the first recognition of my talent,” he says with pride.

A decade after his maiden performance, Sethu took to mimicry with calls for stage shows. But holding on to the path chosen was tough. “That was a period when mimicry was gaining momentum in the state and entertaining troupes were saturated with such artists. Waiting for calls for months together proved painful.”

The waiting phase was also learning period for the artist as he tuned his mimicry to perfection. The wait yielded result as Vijay TV offered him the anchor’s role for the comedy show ‘Kalakka Povadhu Yaru’ (KPY).

“Though it was not my debut in television medium, it gave me the much-needed identity,” says Sethu. His early TV shows including ‘Sagala Vs Ragala’ on the same channel, failed to scale the TRP ratings.

Sethu’s uniqueness lies in the voices he chooses. He brings back the memory of many forgotten faces of Tamil film industry with his impeccable emulation. “Actually I am loved not for my mimicking skills but the actors I choose to imitate,” he says. And indeed, all-time favourites of Sethu and viewers are the voices of veteran actors V.S.Ragavan and Shanmugasundaram of ‘Karagatakaran’ fame. The depth in his voice also fetches him offers in radio jingles. Ask him whether he is eyeing the silver screen and pat comes the reply: “I acted in a few before my entry into comedy shows. But my roles were too brief for people to even notice,” he laughs it off. Both ‘Madhumathi’ and ‘Ilaya Raagam,’ where he shared frame with Vaiyyapuri and Vivek, couldn’t make it high in box-office. But with his hilarious performance in KPY, his career is on an upswing again.

His impromptu conversation with which he keeps the audience in splits all through the hour-long programme on weekends did the trick.

Dialogue delivery

“It is all by God’s grace. I don’t take time to think how my dialogue delivery must be. I’m being saved so far since my off-the-cuff dialogues are well received by the audience. Let’s see how far it goes,” he smiles.

Mimicking popular actors might be amusing for the audience. But what do actors think about it? “They don’t mind as far as we don’t mock at them. The moral code of conduct of every mimicry artist is to resist mocking at the mannerisms of the actors.”

Signing off in his characteristic V.S. Ragavan style, he voices his piece of advice for mimic aspirants: “Have fun, hurt none.”

S. AISHWARYA

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