The actor turns host for the first edition of MasterChef Tamil that'll go on air soon
Nothing can bind the world together like the love for delicious food; all it takes is a good meal to potentially drive away our innermost anxieties, fears and start life on a new slate. Vijay Sethupathi certainly concurs with this thought as his second television show as a host, MasterChef Tamil, presented by Innovative Film Academy (IFA) - Bengaluru, was launched earlier today. The much-anticipated international culinary challenge gets a South Indian twist for the first time in the history of television and will air on SunTV starting this August 1. Vijay Sethupathi, beyond the show, discussed the significance of food in his life with the media.
"I was working on a Malayalam film when the show producer Saravana Prasad approached me to host MasterChef Tamil. I thought I wasn't qualified to do it and said no. I love my food, yes, but I didn't know if I was ready for this. It took some convincing on the producer's part to get me on board (laughs). He made me feel so comfortable during the shoot. I felt like walking to a set of director Shankar's film when I entered the location for the first time. The location was so lively and spectacular," Vijay Sethupathi said.
After extensive auditions spanning multiple rounds, 20 contestants are in the race to be the MasterChef of Tamil Nadu, the criteria for the selection being their passion for cooking and the ability to handle challenges swiftly. All that Vijay Sethupathi told them was, "We can have our share of fun in the show but you are here for a purpose and you need to take your role seriously. This is serious business." The actor will be in six avatars through the show and also be cooking one of his favourite delicacies but keeps his mouth tight-lipped about it for now.
Back home though, the actor admits to being an occasional cook, dishing out an omelette or an ever-safe thayir saadam (curd rice). "My mom, better half and even my 14-year-old daughter are wonderful cooks. If I have to name a MasterChef in my house, it has to be my mom. I even told this to my wife as well. Even a simple idly or a Pongal cooked by mom feels like an 'amrutham' today. I don't know what she does with it, but it has a heavenly taste."
Taking a trip through memory lane, he reminisces, "I realised the value of home food only when I shifted to Dubai for work. I never ate much there and only drank tea in the mornings to save money and send it back home. I starved for many days. Life is a great teacher that way; it teaches you to be grateful for what you have every day."
Television as a medium isn't new to the actor, having hosted Namma Ooru Superstar for Sun TV. He opines that the medium can go a long way in establishing a deep-rooted connection with audiences. "We may have a script to deliver our dialogues in films but television demands spontaneity and requires us to showcase our true selves. Despite my initial inhibitions, I realised I enjoyed being myself and I was the one to approach the television management for my earlier show. I discovered a new me with television."
With MasterChef Tamil though, Vijay Sethupathi says he has kept conversations about his films to a bare minimum. "Everywhere I go, I talk about my films but this is not the platform to do it. I don't want to be indulgent about it. I discuss a lot about life in the show; it's very conversational. I only react and go with the flow," he states.
2021 marks many firsts in Vijay Sethupathi's life. He acted in his first full-fledged role in a Telugu film Uppena in February, he is slated to make his Bollywood debut with a film opposite Katrina Kaif and is set to enter OTT with an appearance in Raj-DK's upcoming show with Shahid Kapoor and Raashi Khanna. "Nothing of this is planned. Who am I to plan my life? I came to the industry with the sole purpose of earning money, buying a house and feeding my family well. Life has given me a lot more than what I've wanted."
(MasterChef Tamil airs on August 1 at 9:30 pm on Sun TV and will air during the weekends on the channel. Viewers can also watch it on SunNXT)