It was the mini screen which paved the way for his film career, which saw him bagging the national award for best actor for the year 2013. Suraj Venjaramood is well entrenched as a comedian and character actor but is now equally active on his ‘home turf’. It is nearly after a decade that he is seen regularly on TV but in a new role.
“The popularity which I gained through television shows and comic serials, which I was doing around 10 years ago, was what helped me land film offers. It was after watching my shows that Mammooka (superstar Mammootty) and certain directors noticed me, helping me secure film roles,” says Suraj, who was part of popular TV programmes including Jagapoga, Jimikki Jimikki and Comedy Thillana.
The reach that an actor gets through a TV programme is much higher than what he gets through the big screen, he notes. “The number of viewers of a television programme might be much higher than that of a film. We cannot say all those who watch a TV programme would watch all the films. But yes, it is films that pitchfork any actor to the top of the popularity charts,” says the actor.
It was the theme of Comedy Super Nite (being telecast on Flowers TV) that dragged him to the show, he says. Unlike before, when he used to be one of the actors or performers in a show, now he is the ‘leader’ of the show, coordinating as well as performing. “It was that concept which attracted me to this programme. I found it a show which has an out of the box concept. It offers a chance to interact with lots of people and gather information which I consider the most valuable asset for a human,” says the actor who has filmed 100 episodes of the show.
The actor, who started his career doing stage shows as a mimicry artiste, still gets a kick out of doing such shows. “I do not like to take rest. When I do not have film shoots, I prefer doing stage shows or TV programmes. I become re-charged while doing these, because basically I am a performer. That is why I still practice new sounds and try to imitate celebrities,” he says. Has he become choosy after getting the National Award? The answer is an unambiguous No. “I do not sort the roles but do all types of them. I like to do comedian as well as character roles. But I try to reject the same type of characters to avoid getting stereotyped,” says the actor admits that he is choosier when it comes to ‘hero’ roles. “Basically I am an actor, who is supposed to do roles. And the fact is that cinema does not want any individual. It is our need to be part of it and thus it is our duty to accept the offers,” says Suraj, who recently wore the hat of a writer.
“My book named Venjaramoodu Kathakal is a semi-autobiographical one, which narrates my memories at my home town, my journey through stage programmes and as an actor,” says Suraj who is involved with Mohanlal starrer Pulimurukan, Shafi’s Two Countries, Vipin Atley’s Ben and Abrid Shine’s Action Hero Biju.