One thing in common between Shekar Basha, a Computer Science graduate and Sandhya aka Sandy, a law graduate, is that neither ever dreamt of becoming an RJ.
“Forget about dreaming, I was not even aware that there was such a job profile,” quips Shekar whose first job was in the troubleshooting department of Compaq, which lasted for around nine months. Shekar then auditioned for the job of a newsreader with ETv, but was rejected due to a funky unprofessional hair style.
“I wanted to enter the entertainment industry somehow, so I tried my luck at all possible places and got the job of a Video Jockey (VJ) with Gemini Music in 2005. ”
Things started rolling after that and he jumped from Gemini Music to Big FM, and underwent a three-month training course at the Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad. He then worked for Red FM and shifted to Big FM again, all this within a span of 18 months.
Shekar now hosts the Happy Mornings show aired from 7-11 am on Big FM. A huge hit, the show not only airs the daily news updates and the usual songs, but anything and everything including information about traffic jams, brain teasers, the daily tarot, snippets about the speciality of the day or a celebrity, updates about stock market, gold price and even costs of vegetables, and the list goes on.
Also continuing his stint as a VJ for Gemini Music, Shekar has worked as a supporting actor in an off-beat movie and is keen on directing films.
Having worked for seven long years as an RJ, ask Shekar if he has any regrets and pat comes the reply, “Oh yes, I have to reach office by 6:30 in the morning, and trust me it is not so easy for someone who has never been a lark.”
Sands of Times
For RJ Sandy, as her fans call her, things have been quite steady and she has remained with Red FM since she joined it in 2007 as a part time RJ while pursuing LLB. She plans to continue as an RJ, “for as long as the audience can bear me,” she jokes.
“It was my mom’s idea to go for the auditions. She and my sister thought I had a great voice and will do wonders as an RJ. I listened to the radio shows with a lot of interest, but the thought of going on-air was a little scary,” chips in Sandhya.
However, talking in a chirpy voice is not the only quality required to become an RJ and Sandhya says she understood it on the very first day that one can’t chose this career with the reasoning that they have a sweet voice. “A whole lot of other qualities like originality in your style, innovativeness, dynamic nature and a knack of learning things really fast are essential. I was determined to work hard and have somehow managed it,” she says.
Perhaps, such an attitude made her a successful RJ overtime, for she bagged the job without having to give an audition.
She has built such a fan base now that she has to think twice before taking a leave. “They call me up and demand an explanation if I miss hosting the show!”
After hosting nearly half-a-dozen super-hit shows like the Red on Road, Good Morning Hyderabad, Gaadi no 935 amongst others, Sandhya now is the RJ for Kitty Party, an exclusive show just for women. Despite being an all-women show, nearly 50 per cent of the calls she receives during the show are from her male fans. “And they won’t stop calling even after innumerable requests.”
Sandhya is now married but nothing seems to have changed except that she gets more encouragement to continue the show.
“Though I had my apprehensions about life after marriage, my husband and my in-laws are completely supportive and very enthusiastic about my show.”
Shoot the same question about any regrets to Sandhya and she admits to one: “I regret missing my college days. I never had enough time to hangout with my friends.”