It is not difficult to understand why Emcee (Master of Ceremonies) Shivaani Sen from Hyderabad bagged the bronze in the Best Emcee category in the country at the EEMA Sportlight Awards 2018 in Jaipur two weeks ago. Or how a non-Telugu like her got unanimously elected as President of Telangana Entertainers Association for this year. She spreads positivity from the time she says hello to you. And she stands out from the crowd. “Telangana and Hyderabad have loved me unconditionally. I am proud to represent us in national platforms. The city and the state have embraced me on the merit of my talent and have never discriminated me on the basis of gender or language,” she says.
She believes that her ability to speak in Hindi for the entire duration of a corporate event in Kochi in 2018 clinched her the award. The EEMA (Event and Entertainment Management Association), an apex body of events and experiential industry, conducts Spotlight Awards annually for partners and artists in various categories. The entries are sent from all across the country. The evaluation factors for the emcee are Stage presence, crowd interaction, voice modulation, expressions, personality, body language and spontaneity.
Shivaani is also quick in acknowledging the positive things around her. “Women have now gotten over the phase where a woman perceives the other as a competitor. Today we are all allies, helping each other out and bonding over common joys and griefs,” she says.In Hyderabad since 2004 when she moved to the city from New Delhi soon after she got married, Shivaani says that the entertainment and events industry is practical and holds no bias against married women or emcees who are also moms. “Talent is the only thing that works here. By that I mean, an emcee with a good stage presence (who can catch the attention of the 5,000 audience), content (innovative, funny and offbeat), body language, your interaction with audience etc.
Sometimes the events go on for seven hours. It is important to make sure that the tempo of the event doesn't drop,” she says. Among her other achievements are winning the Best Emcee- Female by TCEI (Telangana Chamber of Events Industry) for the year 2016 and for 2017. “I was recently elected as President of Telangana Entertainers’ Association (TCEI) for 2017-18.”
Shivaani says that although she has own website, it is good work and word of mouth and some presence in social media that fetches her work.
Work experience, talent (eg music, dance, magic etc), language proficiency also help the event managers to decide whether the emcee suits their event. This gym rat says that one can always give good value addition to make sure the event is interesting. “A lamp lighting ceremony can be a regular one where I say, “I now invite xyz to light the lamp.” But I prefer to recite a sloka or perhaps give a fact about why lighting a lamp is considered auspicious in India etc. This especially appeals to the audience if they are from other nations,” she explains.
She is a fitness freak and says that despite her travel and hectic schedules, sometimes stretching from 8 am to 1 am (event followed by gala dinners etc) she manages to get her one hour workout. “If I am home (near Hitech City), I work out in my apartment gym. When I travel, I do yoga. There is a lot of standing or moving around at work. I better be fit and enjoy it,” she says. Although there is no formal course for emceeing, she says she loves watching TV shows where there is a host who brings in his/her own flavour to he show.
"I also love researching about opening and closing sentences, poems, verse, couplets etc." Her top to upcoming emcees? Research, Research, Research. “Read up about the company whose event you are hosting. If it is a CEO who you are introducing to the company, talk to him beforehand so that you can present him differently to his staff. Basically, do what it takes to convey the best to the audience,” she says.
One of the top paid emcees, she has gifted herself a diamond temple necklace set, a solitaire ring and iPhone 8 to herself, “All hard earned,” she states. She believes that the industry can attract more female talent if event managers can take care of them as they are an important link in the event ecosystem. “Late nights are common during events."
Making sure that the host of the show has a pickup and a drop at her hotel with a reliable driver, ensuring she has reached her hotel safely and perhaps checking on her at times are small acts that can go a long way in making sure no untoward incidents occur,” she says.
How does she keep herself safe? “When in doubt, I can pack a punch. I have been working out for the last 10 years with dumbbells. All that hard work is bound to help me to deliver a killer punch,” she quips.