It is often said “all good things come in small packages,” so also is this diminutive bundle of talent, popularly known as ‘Vismaya’ Vinayak. A gifted multi-dimensional artist, 31-year-old Vinayak is a mimic, mime artiste, stand-up comedian, singer, scriptwriter, song-writer and Radio Jockey. However, behind all the outward bonhomie Vinayak projects, he is very down to earth. A true son of the soil, with all anecdotes narrated by him in Tulu going back to his roots, of which he is extremely proud of.
The youngest in a brood of 10, Vinayak had a normal childhood in Mangalore. His father was a sought after tile-maker and so would get offers from different states. Due to which the family often traveled to far-flung places. Vinayak’s mother was deep into ‘Bhajans’ and young Vinayak would be singing along from childhood. Unfortunately, his mother passed away when he was in the 9th standard. About his childhood Vinayak says “I would listen to the songs of Kishore Kumar and sing exactly like him. Also being a good mimic I would copy everyone around.”
Throughout his schooling at Kottara Primary School due to his teacher Narayana Master’s encouragement he got involved in stage plays, mimicry and singing. During his PUC at Canara High School he would accompany his elder brother, who used to do miming with Kudroli Ganesh Gopadkar’s team of magicians, mimicry and mime artistes. “I would observe Gopadkar doing his acts from far and thought I could do it too,” says Vinayak.
Gopadkar then took him under his wing to do magic and mime in his troupe. He learnt a lot under Gopadkar’s tutelage, with whom he worked for a year. “On his stage shows I tried many new concepts like mimicking a film trailer, which was hugely appreciated by the audience,” informs Vinayak.
In 2001, he joined ETV in the entertainment section. He was sent by them to Hyderabad and did programs in Hindi. After a year and half since he didn’t quite like it, came back to Mangalore and started freelancing. He used to be called by orchestra teams and was in great demand as MC and for mimicry.
Vinayak even went to Mumbai and did voice-overs and stage shows as a comedian and mimicry artist. However, he went through some real tough times there, as he was not given his due share monetarily and was compelled to return home.
Soon he came in touch with the famous comedian ‘Mimicry’ Dayanand and did numerous stage shows with him. It was Dayanand who saw Vianyak’s potential and gave him confidence that he had a good voice to be on radio. Radio Mirchi was being launched and Usha Singh, who was with Vinayak in ETV, suggested his name for Radio Mirchi’s Mangalore branch. This was in 2007, Vinayak was selected and the rest is history.
Vinayak started as RJ in the morning devotional slot, as a morning “mood freshener” In 2008, his ‘Sad’ a joking caricature was a super-hit with the listeners. He even did “Mirchi Talkies” consisting of old Kannada songs wherein he spoke on life and times of old Mangalore.
Then he did “Rewind Raga,” comprising of old retro songs with questions asked in between to listeners in Tulu. It was a hit as people used to feel as if “I was talking one-to-one with them directly.” His latest on air program is called “Tamashe factory” – a Tulu Jock talk packed with comedy content from 4 pm to 9 pm interspersed with Bollywood songs.
In this segment Vinayak carries out a hilarious impersonation of Kamala. It is already a super hit, with phone lines jammed with listeners jostling to talk. Says Vinayak “Laughter costs nothing, there is no tax. It’s totally free. So make the most of it.”