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VELOSO. Funny even when hes dead serious.




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Lou Veloso is on a roll

By Rito Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:01:00 11/27/2009

Filed Under: Cinema, Celebrities

MANILA, Philippines ? Lou Veloso just can?t help it: He?s funny even when he?s dead serious. I?ve had the pleasure of working with the seasoned funnyman in musical productions like ?Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?,? ?Birhen ng Caysasay? and ?Cory??and those experiences were very pleasant ones. So, it was a comic trip down memory lane when we chatted with Lou early this week to talk about his impressive wins at recent awards shows:

Ex-convict

At this year?s Cinemalaya film fest, Lou bagged the Best Actor trophy for his dramatic performance in ?Kolorum,? where he plays an ex-convict who witnesses a crime?the same role that won him the Best Actor plum at the recent Brussels International Film Festival.

Last week, he was declared Best Stage Actor in a nonmusical role by the Aliw Awards for his performance in ?Hiblang Abo.? Prior to this, he was bestowed the Sining at Kalinangan Award by the City of Manila for his contributions to arts, culture and public service. He beams, ?It?s very fulfilling?and somewhat surprising?to experience something like this at my age, and it comes 35 years after my initial foray into professional acting via Amado Hernandez?s ?Mga Ibong Mandaragit.??

Actually, Lou won his first award in the ?80s, when he tied with Ernie Garcia (?Hamlet?) for Aliw?s Best Actor prize, and also?would you believe??for ?Hiblang Abo?! He quickly adds: ?But, my awards for ?Kolorum? were my first from the movies?I?ve never even been nominated! I first learned about winning in Belgium from Celeste (Legaspi), who called to congratulate me. This is a blessing for me, because for the longest time, I?ve been typecast in comedies?nahihirapan akong tanggalin sa sistema ko, dahil nakadikit na sa akin ang persona ni Mr. Truman. Natatakot ang mga director na bigyan ako ng dramatic scene, kasi baka magtawanan ang mga tao at masira ang eksena. I hope this convinces producers to hire me for dramatic roles.?

But, Lou acknowledges that his ability to make people laugh is a special gift. He recalls, ?Maarte ako nung bata pa ako. As a kid, it would take me forever to finish a chore, because I would play with the broom first, pretend that it was a microphone or cry as I crawl on the floor like a cripple. Singing is really my first love. I kept joining singing contests during fiestas but wondered why I wasn?t winning (laughs).

?I was very stubborn. Tumigil lang ako dahil palagi na akong nagkakasakit, kasi hinihintay kong i-announce ang winners na nag-uumaga na kung i-announce, kaya palagi akong nahahamugan. When I woke up the next morning, I?d already be sick. Kaya, sinabi na ng Mama ko na tigilan ko na ang pagsali (laughs)!

Sense of humor

?But, it was my family?s sense of humor that helped us through the hard times. I have eight siblings. When my photographer dad fell on hard times, he sold his studio?and there were days when there was no food on the table. So, bumili ang nanay ko ng tig-iisang monay for all of us. To make the dire situation lighter, gumupit ang kapatid ko ng mga litrato ng masasarap ng pagkain sa magazine and put all of those photos on the table, so it became fun for us?we were able to laugh through our difficulties (laughs)!?

It was also humor that helped Lou the time he lost his bid for public office. He muses, ?It?s just a matter of seeing things in a different light. I was very thankful that I was able to pick up the pieces when Mark Jimenez asked me to work for his Hulog ng Langit Foundation. We should never allow our difficulties to get the better of us.?

Among local comedians, it was Panchito that he looked up to. He explains, ?He was very original. ?Yang mga ?achecheche? at ?ngi? na ?yan, kay Panchito talaga nagsimula. See, they?re still being used now!?

What does he feel when he succeeds in making his audience laugh? Is he aware of his comedic gifts? He replies, ?It?s hard to explain it in words?when I feel the right timing coming, I just seize the moment. It?s like a third eye?I?m not really conscious about it, but I know it?s there.?

Sitcom

Any unforgettable experience as a performer? He recalls, ?When I was still doing stand-up comedy, I would get invited to perform as Mr. Truman, the character from the Mitch Valdes-Nanette Inventor sitcom, ?U.F.O.,? that introduced me to TV audiences. One time, I was invited to perform for a group of big bankers at Sheraton. But, I didn?t know there was another group from a rural bank that was holding a conference in the same hotel.

?Unfortunately, I got there late. Because the activity of the rural bank group was already wrapping up, I went straight to the comfort room, changed, apologized for my tardiness and started performing. The people in the room looked surprised, but they were very appreciative. But, as I was doing my Truman routine, some people who were standing at the door were waving at me, so I waved back. Later, the same persons came to me with a note, saying that I was in the wrong room?and with the wrong group! So, I stopped performing and said, ?Sorry, ha! Lilipat lang ako sa kabila, kasi sila ang nagbayad sa akin (laughs)! It was very embarrassing!?

How does he respond when people compliment him for his performances? He beams, ?Some people thank me for making them laugh or cry. Ang hindi nila alam, it?s the other way around?sila ang nakakatulong sa akin, dahil sa kanila ko nahuhugot ang lahat ng alam ko sa pag-arte. What I learn from people, I use in my art?and keep in my heart!?



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