KOCHI: Loyal listeners of Club FM would only be too familiar with the names Rakesh and Renu. Yes, they are the host duo of the show Love Bytes, who dish out advice to love-lorn souls every night between taking digs at each other. Rakesh also hosts a Saturday night show Lose Control, one of the few English live shows on FM radio which, together with Love Bytes, have been airing on all four Club FM stations of the state for the past three years. Well, it would surprise many to learn that until a few years back, Rakesh, or ‘that guy with the romantic voice’ as he is known, was just another corporate employee like thousands of others.
So how did the corporate cog in the wheel turn into an RJ? Like the rest of the world, Rakesh too did an MBA after college, in interior designing, and soon after he got into a software company as business developer. He worked there for a full five years but says his “heart was never into it.” Not surprising, for at school and college, he was into all kinds of co-curricular activities ­– public speaking, debates, drama and the like. One fine day he quit and spent the next six months “discovering himself.”
Fortunately for him, the Indiavision channel happened to be looking for VJs then. Rakesh got through and hosted a motor sports show for a couple of years on the channel. “The pay was half of what I used to get, but I didn’t mind, because it never felt like I was working.” Meanwhile, he was invited to do a show on Radio Mint, an Internet radio station. On the third day at Radio Mint, he got ‘discovered’ by Club FM. And the rest, as they say, is history. “The funny thing is that while in Kuwait, where I did my schooling, I used to make my younger siblings sit down, put the recorder on and interview them, pretending to be an RJ. Now, I have actually become one!”
Club FM wanted him to do a Malayalam show - Love Bytes, scaring the wits out of him. “My Malayalam is not that good. Once I did a small role in a Malayalam movie and it turned to be a real ‘Thonnakkal Panchayat.’ I made Mohanlal, who was acting in the scene, go through hell.” But both Lose Control and Love Bytes clicked and its hosts turned saviours to many a young and disturbed heart. “Even a few marriages have happened because of Love Bytes,” he says. But interestingly, Rakesh doesn’t seem to think that a good voice is a primary requirement for an RJ. “Spontaneity counts, I feel. Contrary to what many people think, you need to use your head too. Those good at the art of making fun of others will make good RJs. And of course, you need to be in the know of what is happening around you.”
So the celebrity status and the female fan following are all fine, but isn’t RJing an insecure career? “The entertainment industry is unique in that people who enter it can never go back.” So no regrets? “None. I’ll never go back to a 9-5 job. And what would his dream be?’ “I think I’m already living my dream right now. But my ultimate dream is motor sports. Meanwhile ,I’ll continue doing all the things that I am doing now and try to do all that I haven’t been able to do.” Well, we wish him the best!