Art of entertaining

Art of entertaining

Art of entertaining

One of Kannada television’s most popular faces, Sihi Kahi Chandru has dabbled in just about everything. Be it films, tv, radio shows,  or theatre, this talented actor has clearly made a mark, writes Bindu Gopal Rao.

A conversation with him will surely leave you with a few wholehearted laughs for sure. Ace actor, comedian, cook, RJ, writer, director, producer and more, a meeting with the multifaceted Sihi Kahi Chandru left me with a lot of smiles.

“My inclination towards acting started in school, when I did a play and after that everyone started to recognise me. Somehow I found it to be glamorous and started doing a lot of theatre and also attended workshops to understand the various facets of theatre. I then felt the urge to take up acting as a career, but I never went to any acting school and preferred to learn the hard way at work. My first big break was on Doordarshan, a Kannada serial called Sihi Kahi. Later, I also started working in several departments like writing, screenplay, direction and production. My idea then was if I failed as an actor, I would have something to fall back on,” he explains.

Chandru’s popular films include Gowri Ganesha, Puttakkana Highway, Tenali Rama and Ganeshana Maduve.

“After Sihi Kahi, I did my first film called Dr Vijayanand as a hero, but that never released. I then realised that I was probably not hero material and chose to do comedy as a genre. Basically, I am a serious actor but no one takes me seriously,” he laughs.

Ask him why he is seen in fewer movies today and he says, “Earlier, I would do about 17 to 18 movies a year, but that changed when I started my own production house, and then I became picky, as I had lesser time at my disposal. But I still act and am in touch with the industry.”

Television calling |

Through his production houses Final Cut Productions and Master Productions, Chandru has three soaps dominating the small screen and two under production.

“At present, I am in a position where I cannot refuse any work as I have 100 people working for me. So, I do a lot of productions and also make documentary films, ad films and corporate films.”

His show, Bombaat Bhojana, was a runaway hit, and he admits it gave him immense recognition, much beyond his expectations.

“Even a one-year-old who could barely speak started recognising me and calling me Bombaat,” he says.

The show was hugely popular, but took a toll on his health after which Chandru decided to end the show.

“I wanted people to look at me as an actor and did not take up any offers for new shows. Bhojana Priya is a new concept of kitchen on wheels and I travel extensively throughout Karnataka and feature interesting eateries. I try and get hold of people who can showcase traditional and regional food. I like to be recognised as an actor and not a cook,” he says.

Being active on social media networks, Chandru admits he has been a late entrant.

“My daughters taught me the ropes and now I stay connected with friends and fans alike. In fact, I have so many friends now that there is no more scope to add friends so I have asked all new people to add themselves as fans so we are connected,” he adds with a smile.

Donning different hats

A versatile entertainer, Chandru has never been averse to working outside his comfort zone.

Recently, he had a 10-week stint on a dance show Thaka Dhimi Tha Dancing Star which, he says, he thoroughly enjoyed.

“The funny part was that I was competing with people who were almost one-third my age. But it was fun and gave me another image. I knew I was not going to win and rather enjoyed being on the show and was great when it lasted.”

He was also an RJ on 92.7 FM and says that his first on-air stint was eight years ago, when he was there to select RJs for the radio station. However, he was requested to host the breakfast show that became a big success.

“But that ate into my regular work time and I decided to quit. Recently, my wife and I were again approached to do a show on the legends of Kannada cinema, and it has been a fulfilling experience as we do a lot of research on the show to give listeners a complete life sketch of the person being featured. The show has received a good response.”

A theatre lover, he adds, “I manage to do about three plays every year. I am currently working on an English play and two Kannada plays called Nimitha and Gathi.

Theatre has been my first love and I never leave an opportunity to do the same. I do different roles away for my regular on-screen image.”

He has a few scripts ready and wants to direct a movie and is working on identifying a producer. And being the charmer that he is, he is sure to scale higher peaks of creative satisfaction.