Karunakaran on his TV debut Asaalta Alaravidum Pullingo: Television is tough work
Karunakaran is making his television debut with Asaalta Alaravidum Pullingo in Discovery India's revamped Tamil channel, DTamil
Let’s admit it. At some point, we have all instinctively laughed at seeing someone falling down. Science explains this by linking it to incongruity. We are known to laugh at things that convey ambiguity, logical impossibility and inappropriateness. Is it any surprise that a show like America’s Funniest Home Videos has recently entered its 30th season? DTamil’s upcoming show, Asaalta Alaravidum Pullingo, is a similar show, and is a compilation of funny clips and home videos—with comic commentary from its host, Karunakaran, who will be making his television debut.
“It's a show that will make you laugh for its 30-minute duration. Some of the clips are hilarious and commenting on them was an interesting experience," says Karunakaran who adds that it was not an easy job at all. “The content is not from our country, so the comments had to make things relatable. There are also restrictions on what I can talk about. It has been created to ensure that both kids and adults enjoy the show.” The actor also points out that the content of the show is for viewing purposes only. "Many are of those injuring themselves doing stunts. Viewers should not even consider recreating them.”
While he has enough experience acting, being himself in front of the camera was a new experience for Karunakaran. “I struggled as much as I did with mathematics in my seventh grade. Nanban was actually my first film offer but I didn't take it because of fear. In fact, I didn't even respond to it." Director Nalan Kumarasamy, who roped in Karunakaran for the 2013 release, Soodhu Kavvum, encouraged him to go in person when explaining offer rejections. “That's why I went in person to say no to Sundar C sir who offered me a role in Kalakalappu. He cajoled me saying, “Jolly-a padam pannuvom, vaanga”, and that's how my cinema journey started," he says and adds that similarly, the show’s team was quite helpful. “They believed in me, and VJs Ramya and Sun Music Rakesh told me it would be quite easy. Konjam kashtam nu sollirukkalaam (laughs). I have played the role of an anchor in the first season. To actually become one, I might need a little more time. You will see the difference even between the first and last episodes."
A promo of the show shows Karunakaran trying out different voices. “I would be done with one clip and starting another involving two bears and someone from the team would say, 'Sir, karadi mathiri pesunga'. I had to ask how a bear would speak. Suddenly, they would ask me to sound like a monkey or an elephant. It was initially hard but it got fun after a while.” The actor goes "Aiyayo!" when I mention that the word 'pullaingo' has been a matter of debate. "We haven't insulted anyone with this show. To be honest, when we say, Asaalta Alaravidum Pullingo, we are actually glorifying them."
There were other lessons too. "I learnt that I had to be louder for the television. I had to bring in new gestures and nuances. The content actually came with English audio clips. I had to see the clip and come up with my own lines. The original ones cannot really be used, as they wouldn’t strike a chord with our people. Their voiceover sometimes would just be, 'wow' or 'great'. If I did that, they would return the videos back to me (laughs),” says Karunakaran who acknowledges that there are similar shows out there. “That’s why I had to up the ante. We have added fresh elements to this show and I am sure it will work.” Some of the restrictions he had to keep in mind, surprised him. “I can't use film titles, dialogues or songs. I have tweaked the content to get their nod. I can't say anything political. I was actually silent for a while after reading these conditions (smiles).
Karunakaran, who began with short films and went on to feature films, before now, embracing television as well, is happy about the state of his career. "Many asked why I was not a part of many films this year. For the film Pannikutty, the makers wanted me available for the entire shooting in Usilampatti as the rest of them - such as Yogi Babu and Ramar - were busy. The film has come out really well and I am also looking forward to Kaatteri, Arya's Teddy and Sivakarthikeyan's SK14. My next year is set to be quite busy," he signs off.
Season one of Asaalta Alaravidum Pullingo, consisting of 16 episodes, premieres on November 16 at 1 pm and 7 pm on DTamil.