Remember that girl in the Kanjivaram sari, with a thick Malayali accent and a thicker layer of oil in her hair? Anu Menon — who most would know and remember as the video jockey, Lola Kutty — may have disappeared from the small screen, but her character is set to come alive again in an upcoming film. Menon is also co-writing and performing a new sketch comedy show, Rinse Cycle, with stand-up comic Kaneez Surka. We catch up with her to know more.
How did the collaboration with Surka come about?
It stemmed from our eight-year friendship. Three months ago, we decided to start writing sketches as an experiment. There are 16 characters in the show, and each of us performs eight roles. The show delves into topics like what mothers tell their daughters as they grow up, gender roles, schooling of kids, and so on.
Why don’t we see you or Lola Kutty on TV anymore?
TV is not about taking risks anymore. Our urban target audience is now turning to the Internet for their kind of shows. Apart from Kapil Sharma, I cannot name a single comedian who has taken the TV world by storm. In fact, I think Lola Kutty would have received as many brickbats if it was on air today, as it received accolades then. But that doesn’t mean I won’t do TV anymore. If the right opportunity comes, I will take it up.
Also read: Don’t call me Lola Kutty!
Do people still identify you as Lola?
Absolutely, and I don’t run away from it. You can’t hate what you created. In fact, my mother loves Lola more than she loves me (laughs). Once I was acting in Lilette Dubey’s play, and I was portraying Sarojini Naidu. The moment I came on stage, several audience members started screaming, “Yeh to Lola Kutty hai” (That’s Lola Kutty).
How does it feel to be one of the first women comedians in India? How has the scenario changed today?
Humour is male-oriented. For example, a girl will always say that she wants a man who is tall, dark and has a sense of humour. But, a man will say that he wants Sunny Leone. Humour isn’t really associated with women. It’s easier for men to swear and abuse, but it’s still a taboo for women to do so publicly. Even today, I feel female comedians are like a reservation quota; comedy festivals have a separate show only for women comedians. But at least comedy is a veritable career avenue now.
How did your cameo in Farah Khan’s next happen?
They were looking for a reporter with a Mallu accent, and they knew I was cheap (laughs), so they just asked me to do my Lola Kutty act. It was fun.