Thiruvananthapuram: In a case of real life imitating reel life, popular Malayalam television and tinsel star Vinod Kovoor, better known as M 80 Moosa – the name tag coming from Moosa the fish monger he characterises in the TV serial Meen 80 Moosa – is venturing into fish retailing in Kozhikode.
Months of lay-offs in the film, television and stage sectors in Kerala have dealt debilitating financial blows to actors, technicians and various other supporting staff and the immediate future is not looking very bright either.
“When I understood that these lean days are going to extend quite a while, I decided to do something else, and that’s how four of my friends and I have launched Moosakayi’s Sea Fresh, a fish retailing business which will be open to customers in Kozhikode from September 7,” Kovoor told Gulf News.
Does Moosa the fish monger in the TV serial have any experience in fish vending? “Not at all”, admits Kovoor, but his four partners who are all techies do have business experience and some first-hand understanding of the fish retailing business.
“We are already getting franchise requests from the Malabar region and even from Dubai. We are certainly considering these enquires to expand our network,” said Kovoor. Going forward, the venture is also planning to add organic foodstuff and vegetables to its retail offerings.
Moosakayi’s Sea Fresh has already tied up with fish sellers based in Beypore and Chaliyam ports and plans to enhance its sourcing points as the business goes forward.
Kovoor’s acting career, meanwhile, is on hold. “During the Onam seasons in the past years I had shows in so many places, from Mumbai and Chennai to Gujarat and Dubai. This year there is no hope for artistes,” says the actor who is a graduate with a double specialisation in Sociology and Malayalam.
Some of his fellow artistes have also ventured into other fields to tide over the tough times, with a few having got into micro retailing including mobile retail shops known in Kerala as Thattu kada.
The enormously talented artiste that he is, Kovoor will be ready to bounce back into his favourite acting roles once the film and television industry claw back to better times. “I’m a celebrity partner in the business. But at heart I’m an actor, and will be back once the industry gets back to normal,” he says.
“If COVID-19 has taught us one big lesson, it is to have a side business besides your regular source of income,” says the star who has reinvented himself to beat the unexpected blues in his profession.