Even before James Vasanthan's breakout Tamil album Subramaniyapuram hit the market, he was well-known among TV audiences as a host with a pleasant smile, easy manner and a genuine love for the medium.
Subramaniapuram's chart busting songs might have plucked him out of TV and into movies, but he stills retains a love for the small-screen, opting to return as a host when he can.
That has translated into James Vasanthan's latest appearance on television, a return to a channel he has worked with in the past. He hosts the game show Oru Varthai Oru Laksham which tests a participant's vocabulary of the Tamil language. It involves finding the correct word in a given duration with the help of clues, and is played by two teams, comprising of two members in each team.
In an exclusive chat with rediff.com, James Vasanthan talks about his first stint with TV, his successful tryst with cinema, and his experiences on returning to the small-screen. Excerpts:
How did Oru Varthai Oru Laksham happen?
Truth is, I had absolutely no time for TV as my cinema commitments are overwhelming. But Vijay TV was very insistent that I do it. Even then, I hesitated, because I wasn't sure how committed I could be to the project. But I was told that this would be a weekly show, so I figured, it would be just four episodes a month. I decided that I would do it for a month and see how things went from there. I have sorted out my schedule for the show.
What was it like hosting the show?
It's a fairly new concept, and I found it a bit complicated in the beginning. But since I have already had experience hosting shows, I managed to get the hang of it by the second episode. The participants of that particular episode were outstanding as well. That built up the momentum and from then on, everything went smoothly.
How did you start your stint in television?
Those were the days when satellite TV was just becoming a phenomenon. Back then, I had no real idea about how TV worked, so I had no issues with approaching a channel directly. I went to Sun TV, working as a newsreader for a while. Later, that slowly morphed into anchoring shows on various channels.
Let me tell you, though, that music and films have always been my focus. So when I got the chance, I went back to it.
How did being a TV personality change your life?
Well, people's perception of you changes, certainly. When you go out, they recognise you but it was actually the song Kangal Irandal (for Subramaniapuram) that made me a public figure. I knew the song would work, but I had no idea it would be so universally liked. When we were working on Subramaniapuram, I had finished tuning Kangal Irandal and I thought it had come out quite well. But then I started having second thoughts. I called Sasikumar and said, please cut this one out. But he convinced me to go ahead with it.
What projects are you working on, now?
At the moment, I'm working on Sasikumar's second film Eesan, and looking forward to working in more films.
Catch Oru Varthai Oru Laksham on Saturdays at 2000 hrs, on Vijay TV.