Our father wanted Suraj to join the army: Saji Venjaramoodu

Saji had debuted in Mimicry long before his brother, Suraj Venjaramoodu (L).

His father always wanted Suraj Venjaramoodu to join the army. But eventually, it was his brother Saji Venjaramoodu, who followed his father’s dream. Ironically, Saji had debuted in Mimicry much before his brother, Suraj Venjaramoodu. But when he was beckoned by the army, Suraj joined as his brother’s replacement and the rest as they say is history. From mimicry to being a National award-winning actor, Suraj Venjaramoodu has come a long way. From the army camp, his brother was watching Suraj’s growth with pride. After retiring from the Indian military, Saji who is working at SBI is once again back to his home turf—acting. He has played a key role in the recently released 'Oru Thathvika Avalokanam'. More from Saji.

From the world of art to army camp

His father Venjaramoodu K Vasudevan Nair was in the army. He wanted one of his sons to join the army. He was keener on Suraj joining the army. I was busy with mimicry, social work, and cultural activities. Venjaramoodu was a beehive of art and culture and theatre.

It was during the late 80s. A lot of mimicry actors, including Jayaram, were entering films and that was an encouraging sign for all of us. That was enough incentive for us to start dreaming about a future in cinema. But when Suraj’s hand got fractured during an accident, his army aspirations failed to take off. Naturally, the onus fell on me to join the army. After all my father’s wish to see either of us join the army seemed legit.

Initially, it wasn’t easy, to migrate from the world of art to a disciplined rigid space. Though my body was at the army camp, my mind was always hovering around mimicry stages and festival grounds. But I was scared of facing my father’s wrath to leave my job. Eventually, I came to terms with it.

How does he analyze his brother's growth?

My friends had already told me that Suraj was selected on the basis of his talent and not merely as my replacement at the mimicry troupe. Even at the army camp, I would keenly follow his growth. His mimicry, TV debut, films, and his tremendous growth. I would cut out every newspaper/magazine news about him and keep it with me.

In fact during an American stage show all these documents I kept with me really helped him. No one was more excited than me when his film career took off with Mayavi and Thuruppugulan.

Saji Venjaramoodu (C) with 'Oru Thathwika Avalokanam' co-actors Shammi Thilakan (L) and Major Ravi.

Back to cinema

After coming back from the army, I am equally invested in art and cultural activities. I got an opportunity to act in a few short films and music albums. I am also active in the Rotary club and other cultural pursuits. But my entry into cinema was purely coincidental.

The producer of Thathvika Avalokanam Dr. Geevarghese Yohannan is our family friend. An opportunity came during an interaction with him.

I play a political worker called KD Thamban in the film directed by Akhil Marar who is making his debut. I am also playing the role of a priest in Alli, an offbeat film, set in the backdrop of a forest, presented by a few govt employees in Kollam.

People thought it was Suraj Venjaramoodu in a new getup when they saw you in the poster of Thathvika Avalokanam.

Suraj had acted in KaneKane at that time and the character had an aged getup. Maybe that’s why the similarity. And we do have similarities physically.

What Suraj told him about his performance

He saw my performance at the dubbing studio and liked it. He did offer me some suggestions to better my act. Am hopeful of including his tips for my next performances.


His wife is Swapanalekha and his daughter SS Vaishnavi is an Engineering student while his son Vaishak is in 5th grade. 

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