Alexander Babu: ‘Cinema is a magical experience’

What the popular stand-up comedian learnt by making his Kollywood debut with Madhavan’s ‘Maara’, releasing this week

The year 2021 has begun on a sweet note for stand-up comic Alexander Babu, for, he is debuting in Tamil cinema with Maara, releasing this Friday on Amazon Prime Video. “Growing up, watching the likes of Vivek, Vadivelu and Crazy Mohan, I always wanted to become an actor. It is finally coming true,” he says, over a phone call.

Many aspirants seek to make a mark in Tamil cinema to attain fame and stardom, but Alex, as he is popularly known, has already dabbled in cinema.

From getting positive feedback for his hit show, Alex in Wonderland, on digital platforms to clocking over a million subscribers on his YouTube channel a few months ago, 2020 has been the year for Alex.

The new year will see him playing an important role in Madhavan-starrer Maara, directed by Dhilip Kumar. “It was amazing,” he recalls, “I have read about the art form that is cinema, but to actually see that coming alive in front of your eyes was a magical experience.”

Despite all his experience on stage as an actor and stand-up comic, the first shot in front of the camera was still a big challenge. “I had to share screen space with Maddy for an important scene. We had multiple rehearsals and readings, but I was still nervous when it was being filmed. The most important thing for me was to let go of a lot of things, and deliver as per the requirements of the scene,” says Alex, who also made his web-series debut in 2020 with Time Enna Boss.

2020 would have been different for Alex, if not for the pandemic. In the beginning of the year, he had three goals: do a tour with a new play directed by Vinodhini; a tour with old content, and write new content.

In the end, he could only achieve his third goal. “There is pressure that comes with not having revenue, but I felt that my material will work better with live audiences. I have content for three shows,” he states.

He will explore topics like science, history, literature and folk music in his upcoming shows. “My earlier show, Alex in Wonderland, revolved around an easy format because the audiences knew most of the personalities I spoke about. In future, I want to narrate stories about not-so-popular topics, and see if I can pull a joke out of it.”

Alex is looking forward to opening this experimental stand-up with live Tamil audiences, whom he refers to as ‘chellam’.. “I call them that because I view the audience as my children. Before I get into a show, I keep telling myself that my content, in a way, is something that I want to tell my own children.”

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