‘I was a really shy child who hardly spoke! ’

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ANURADHA ‘LOLA KUTTY’ MENON, Actor

What is your earliest memory?
My third birthday. There was a giant cake and cardboard box that hung from a ceiling, inside which was a treasure trove of goodies. When it was poked with a stick, it rained down goodies. That’s hard to forget.

Who has influenced you?
My grandfather: the most important man in my life. He made me a nerd. Both my parents worked so I would spend time with him after school. I was such a nerd, I would actually say, “Come pa, let’s study” and my grandfather would help me do my homework. He was very earnest and yet flamboyant. You could talk to him about anything.

Is humour important to you?
Yes. Can’t live without it. I’ve grown up with very funny parents. It’s been a way of life for me. Television is a testament to the fact that people need humour in their lives. It’s integral to us.

How did you take to acting?
I was a really shy child who hardly ever spoke. I would come home every day from school and would act out the highlights of the day. When I was in Class X, my mother forced me to audition for the school play. When I was 14, I stepped on to a stage and, as clichéd as it may sound, I felt I had come home. It was lovely to be up there oblivious to the 500 or so people watching me.

What do you love about theatre?
The stage is just there and the embellishments you bring are your own. There is a great simplicity about it. You see an entire lifetime unfold before your eyes in a span of two hours, and that transformation happens in front of you and the audience gets it. The communication is amazing.

What does it take to be somebody else?
Practice! You have to do your homework, whether imagined or real and create a background history. I’ve found I can get away with a lot being Lola that I wouldn’t be able to being Anu. I also love looking at people and observing their mannerisms and their idiosyncrasies. The world is full of interesting people and it seeps insidiously into you and pops up later when you’re imagining a character.

Your take on marriage?
It’s been nearly a year and it’s going great. I had no expectations. I think it helps to bruise male egos a bit from time to time. You have to be independent and then it turns out great.

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