Lola Kutty Trying Hands on StandUpby Opinion Express June 19, 2019 0 comments
Sakshi Sharma Anu Menon, popularly known as Lola Kutty, asserts that regional accents are bound to influence the way we speak English. By Sakshi Sharma
A centre parting with braided hair, profusion of jasmine gajras, a small bindi on her forehead, Kanjivaram saris teamed with heavy gold jewellery and a strong as can be Malyali accent. If you put out this description to a 90s kid, nine times (or maybe even 10) out 10, the answer would be Lola Kutty.
Anuradha Menon, who played the much-loved Channel V VJ, will be seen in a stand alone comic show on Amazon Prime called ‘Wonder Menon’. The show is a collection of her observations, a style that she has favoured since she started out. Through this, she aims to boldly expose the absurdity of life and language with humour and multi-lingual jokes. “In this show, I have tied together all my observations and writings, which luckily make that one hour special, really special,” she says.
Her style of comedy is observational coupled with humour rather than one where she delivers traditional punchlines. With Wonder Menon, Anu has exhausted all her writing for this Amazon show so much so for any other programme she will have to start from a scratch.
Anu started comedy in the 90’s when it did not feature high on the list of ‘the thing’ to be pursued. She paved her own path while combating challenges that are inherent in a field that is new and relatively unexplored. Talking about the evolution of the comic industry, the chirpy VJ cum actress says, “I think in the current scenario, there are far more platforms to showcase your talent and connect to people”. In keeping with the times, she feels, if she was doing Lola Kutty today she would have gone through the web route as opposed to television. “The game is changing as there are so many web platforms which have created more avenues and opportunities for stand-up comedy to flourish as well other different kinds of stories.”
For her, comedy is merely jokes and does not convey any lesson. “Everyone portrays comedy differently. Some people are into dark humour, others do lighter comedy while still others are more political. Each one of us have different strengths and this is what makes the comic industry appealing. The various voices offer different perspectives which perhaps one might have not thought about,” she says.
In India, off late, it is the political satire that has been making waves. Anu feels that everyone has a different route to humour. “People believe, with humour, the point is understood smoothly and it also lightens a heavy topic,” she says.
Menon has been accused of making fun of the Malayali community because she imitated the accent. However, she counters saying, “In this country we take offence easily. For me, stereotypes are there for a reason, because they are true. In fact, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people having a strong regional accent as the way we speak our regional tongue possibly infiltrates our English accent.” She strongly feels that we should not be apologetic about the way we speak. As she was playing a character from a particular social setting, it was essential for her to zone out of Anu in order to play it convincingly. She is also the last one to pay heed to what people think about her. Asserting that it is fundamentally impossible to please everyone every time, she is glad that because of her some people feel that Malayalam is a cool language.
With respect to films, she laughs and tells us, “I would not fit into the role of a conventional heroine because I would never survive in this industry as she is a healthy Malayali girl.”
Anu has always given primacy to stage, for a reason. “The stage has always been my first love and it will always be the focal point of my life,” she asserts.
Since Lola Kutty was an iconic act, does she have any plans to reprise it? “I would be happy to to do so if people want to see Lola back in 2.0 avatar. It is always overwhelming to see people remembering Lola,” she says with a sigh.
Writer: Sakshi Sharma
Courtesy: The Pioneer