Ullas Pandalam has been a familiar face to the mini screen audience as he shines in many super hit comedy shows. Though he can easily kick up a laugh riot on screen, not many know that Ullas had gone through pretty difficult times in the past. The mimicry artist has had his own share of struggles when he had to overcome poverty and financial difficulties to finally make it big in television. Ullas opens up about his journey that began in a small thatched shed and has now reached a beautiful two storied house.
Ullas is a native of Pandalam where he lived with his parents and a sister and a younger brother. His father worked as a daily wage laborer and his mother was a homemaker. The family lived in a small rented house when the kids were smaller. Later, Ullas’ father built a thatched shed close to his ancestral house. The family stayed in that shed, that had only a room and a kitchen, for many years.
“My father inherited 4 cents land from his family when I had completed the pre degree course. He built a small house that had just two rooms, with whatever savings he had. Those were the days when we slept with a sense of security of having a roof above our heads. However, that didn’t last long. We had to sell that house to arrange money for my sister’s wedding. We had stayed in that house for only two years. Our lives moved back to rented houses again,” recalls Ullas.
From the mimicry stage to mini screen
Ullas says he never performed anything on stage during his school days. Just after completing pre degree, Ullas, along with a few friends, prepared a mimicry program to be presented at the annual celebration of the club at his hometown. Interestingly, artist Pandalam Balan who is also Ullas’ relative happened to watch his performance. It was he who introduced Ullas to the world of professional mimicry. But, Ullas had programs only during the seasons. So, he began working as a laborer during the off season. Ullas says that he mostly did painting jobs. He soon got invited to perform in the Comedy Stars show which paved his way into television.
“It was to build a house of my own that I saved up the money that I earned from the television show. Around 5 years ago, I approached many banks to grant me a housing loan. But, they denied me loan saying that there were some problems in the title deed. Then I became determined to build my house, no matter what. The foundation was built with whatever little money I had then. The construction progressed gradually using my earnings. Finally, in October last year, the construction got over. By then, it had been 5 years since the foundation was built. We often joke that our house was built as a five year plan. In a way, it indeed is a good thing that I didn’t have to avail a loan or borrow money to build my house,” notes Ullas.
Flood and corona virus
The construction was completed in August last year and the family had planned to conduct a grand house warming celebration then. But it was the time when Kerala was battered by the second consecutive flood. Ullas says that flood waters had gushed to the front yard of the house. They postponed the housewarming ceremony until everything was fine. “This two storied house is designed in 1700 sqft. If the floods had turned villain last year, now, during the corona virus pandemic, our dream abode has become our safe – house too. I spend time practicing new mimicry items with my kids, singing karaoke and playing caroms,” says Ullas.
Ullas’s wife Nisha is a home maker. They have two kids; Indujith who is in class seven and Suryajith, a class five student.