You might be more familiar with the name Balu of the popular sitcom 'Uppum Mulakum' than his real name Biju Sopanam. Balu and the members of his large family are the darlings of the mini screen audience in Kerala. The characters played by Biju and others in the show is one among the new brand of serials in Malayalam where one off plots are a mix of comedy and realistic drama. The success of Uppum Mulakum has earned Biju roles in a few films as well. Thrilled about moving into his brand new house, Biju takes Onamnrama readers through his dream dwelling.
Biju hails from Kulathur in Neyyatinkara, Thiruvananthapuram. His parents are Madhavan Thampi and Vasanta Kumari. Binoj and Bindu are his siblings. “Our family wasn’t financially well off. We lived in a small house when we were children. There was a time when we couldn’t even think of having a house of our own. Finally, after waiting for so long, my dream has come true. Though the house warming ceremony was conducted during the Onam season last year, it is only now that we moved in,” says Biju.
Biju has dreamed of becoming an actor from his childhood onwards. It was this passion for acting which led him to the legendary playwright Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s theatre troupe Sopanam. The actor calls this the first major turning point in his life. “I spent around two decades on the stage, that too acting in Sanskrit plays. I got the offer in Uppum Mulakum through a friend who works in the mini screen. This was the second turning point in my life. The audience gave me the love and fame that I could never achieve for twenty years from the stage, in an instant. It brought me opportunities in the movies as well. My younger brother Binoj too is acting in 'Uppum Mulakum',” notes the actor.
Unlike Balu in 'Uppum Mulakum', who is a father of five kids, Biju in real life has a small family. His wife Lakshmi is a home maker and their only daughter Gouri Lakshmi is a class nine student. Like her father, Gouri too has a flair for the arts. She is a trained Kuchipudi dancer and is interested in acting too. Interestingly, Gouri has acted in 'Uppum Mulakum' as Balu’s brother’s daughter. “In mini screen she called me ‘uncle’ and called her real uncle ‘father’,” laughs Biju.
The plot of Biju's new house in Nettayam in Thiruvananthapuram is a sloped one that lies in multiple levels and the house is built to suit the unique structure of the plot. The interiors are thus designed in many levels and floors. Roads run through both sides of the house. The views of the exteriors from these two directions are unique and amazing. The exteriors feature the chic style of the contemporary architecture. The pillars in the sit-out and a few pillars inside the house are highlighted by covering it with laterite stones.
From the sit-out one could enter the formal living area. This space, designed in double height, looks vaster. Along with the family photos and the countless mementos that adorn a wall here, the picture of Kavalam Narayana Panicker too finds a prominent place. Biju reveres the iconic playwright as his guru. An office cum bedroom too is arranged in this floor.
A flight of steps from here leads to the dining area. The trophy shelf near the dining table too is full of various awards and mementos won by Biju. The painting of Buddha, that fills the spaces with positive vibes, is the highlight of the interiors. The adjacent wash area too is highlighted with laterite stones. There is a door here which leads to the back yard of the house.
The master bedroom is just beside the dining area. An additional floor is arranged in the bedroom as the plot lies in multiple levels. A small stairway leads to this floor. Terracotta tiles are paved on the floor in the house. This gives a cooling effect which makes the interiors incredibly pleasant and comfortable. Biju says it is extremely calm sleeping on this terracotta floor. He decided to pave terracotta tiles in his new house in memory of the good old times when he used to sleep on the cool floor of his childhood home.
The kitchen and the adjacent work area are in the same level as the dining space. This area is yet to get active in its full swing.
The next set of stairs leads to the open terrace. The roofing works of the home theatre is progressing here. The open terrace has a surprise which is the most amazing feature in the house. A small blue cabin on the terrace captures the attention from the outside itself. A quaint swimming pool is built inside this cabin made with polycarbonate sheet. The facility to filter and recycle the water in the swimming pool is arranged here.
This area is rich with natural water sources and the well often overflows during the rainy season. A small fountain like channel has been built to remove the water that overflows from the well. This spectacular house shines against the beautiful twilight sky when the highlighter lights are switched on.
Biju says that the solar panels would be installed on the terrace in a few days. The landscape works too are in its finishing stage. Lots of space is reserved in the landscape to grow plants and shading trees. In a few months, this house would look more beautiful and scintillating with lush greenery all around, and with other modern facilities as well. This would soon transform into a perfect abode that welcomes Biju to serenity and sheer happiness when he is back from the sets.
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