Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NVK Shilpa Menon Interview

She’s the happy face you encounter on ‘Namma Veedu Kalyanam’ while watching Vijay TV on Sundays. For show anchor Shilpa Menon, who came into her own quite by chance with lots of quirks of destiny thrown in, it’s been a joy ride ever since the show kicked off and became a huge success.

Today, the lass is lavished with praise by virtual strangers in public, who compliment her on the way she conducts the show. With so much going for her, Shilpa, we find, is one content young lady, who claims she couldn’t ask for more. “It’s really destiny or else how else would you explain how I came into television and showbiz?” questions Shilpa. For this graduate in English from Stella Maris College, the only dreams she had right from class 6, were studying English literature. But the hunger for knowledge hasn’t dimmed even now, as she is keenly pursuing her MBA by correspondence from the Symbiosis institute, Pune, and MA in English from the University of Madras as well.

“I always wanted to study and I am happy that my work doesn’t come in the way of that,” she grins. In the meantime, she is not only studying but also emceeing and hosting shows for corporates and film events. So how did she make an entry into television, when her interests lay elsewhere? “I enjoyed the stint though it was a completely exhausting job. I even went to Australia on a Peace Scholarship exchange programme during my college days, and studied at the Queensland University of Technology. They were the best six months of my life and I wanted to be a journo back then! But I never ever dreamt that I would land up in showbiz! I interned for a year as a radio programme producer in Radio One and that’s where it all started,” she explains.

It was quite by chance that Shilpa made her small screen debut. “I was playing carom with my Radio One boss John Vijay, when he suddenly asked if I would like to do television. I just said okay, without giving it much thought. The next thing I knew, he had made a call to some people, arranged some meetings and I was auditioning and got selected as anchor for the Jaya TV show, ‘Unga Area Ullai Vaanga’!” she recalls. After this college campus competition show, Shilpa went on to do ‘Arindadum Ariyamalum’ on Vijay TV apart from becoming a radio producer for Chennai Live. The next big thing that hit her was ‘Namma Veedu Kalyanam’ which started off as a 30-minute show in 2009 but is presently a one-hour show that details the weddings of celebrities from Kollywood and TV.

And, what does her job involve?

“I need to establish a connection between the audience and the celebs. For this, I need to brush up my language skills in Tamil, especially since it’s mostly poetic, flowery Tamil I’m supposed to speak in, with no traces of ‘Tanglish’,” explains Shilpa who came from a mostly an English-speaking background. “Though I can speak Tamil well, I wasn’t sure it was good enough for television. However, today when I get compliments for the way I present the show, even my friends can’t believe it!” she laughs. The biggest thrill was when her aunt in Chicago called to say that her show being telecast in the US!

So are films the next step? “I have got film offers, but refused them. I am happy on TV and have no plans to change track,” she says.

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