HYDERABAD: Pradeep Machiraju, called the Chinnatera Shahrukh is as charming and funny a guy can get. A techie from Vignan University, he says he was like any other desultory teenager who was hunting for offbeat job opportunities. “I was working with an event management company and then I saw the ad asking for youngsters to audition for a radio jockey...”. More from the 30-plusser bachelor boy and charming host of Zee Telugu’s Konchem Touchlo Vunte Cheptanu (KTUC) and Big Celebrity Challenge, Kick etc.
As a Radio Jockey
As an RJ, I gave an audition and I was my usual self where I spoke as though I would when I hang out with my buddies. Next I knew I was doing a late night show for the channel. I really enjoyed the 1 am to 4 am slot. A special movie promotion show lead to a small role in a movie called Manorama.
As an anchor/entertainer
When I was taking baby steps in anchoring with a few shows, I got to know that Zee Telugu was launching a show called Gadasari Atta Sogasari Kodalu and surprisingly, I felt that as a man I would bring in some new perspective into the show. I told myself that I should be the change I want to see on the telly. At a time when only women were hosting the show, it added a tinge of novelty when a guy hosted the show. It was a game show where we would travel to interiors of the state and pit the mothers-in-law against the daughters-in-law. The show ran for four years and 1,000 episodes where we featured 2,000 women. The ladies show I hosted went on to break stereotypes that only women watch it. The whole family started watching it and I was told that as soon as the men came back from work, they would switch it on. I think the passion that went into a game show that could have otherwise turned into a routine show, is what fetched me the Nandi award. I remember the way even 60-year-old grumpy attalu loosened up to do a dance number on my show. I visited close to 90 villages in those four years. The unit would literally block the road, put up a tent and the entire village would assemble there. I felt true human connect in the villages.
As a producer/anchor of Zee Telugu’s KTUC
A talk show was always in my bucket list. First I had to ensure that my list of celebrities were exciting and big enough to catch the attention of the audience. I approached the stars – Samantha, Tamanna, Shruthi and everyone agreed to be on the show. I wanted the show to celebrate the stars’ lives and give the audience unknown and interesting nuggets of their lives.
What it takes to produce the show:
First we set a date for the shoot with a celeb and after some back and forth moving of the dates, I book the studio where a team of 150 put together the show. Typically, it takes about two weeks between the first call to the star and the final cut of the show. Since I am the only one who does the background check on the stars (sounds bytes of their teachers and cousins etc), it gets even more tough. And I must say all the new generation stars are so witty.
Memories of the show:
That Kajal Aggarwal was the first to agree to be on the show; That a star like Tamannah flew all the way to the city for my show. Seeing Samantha in tears of joy after listening to sound bytes from her school teachers.
Money he made with his production house?
Of course, I can’t tell you that. Well, I can say I get both job and jebu (pocket) satisfaction with my show.
Which car do you drive? When did you buy?
BMW. I bought it this year. (There we have our answer of how much he earns).
5 hashtags that define you
#Lively #Positive #Crackpot #Mischievous #Prankster
Three things you think you should not have done so far
Should not have said yes many a times. Should not have given free advice. Should not have been lazy about opening my Facebook profile. There were over 40 fake profiles floating around, some of them even flirting with girls and another asking people for money. I managed to avert calamities by starting my verified page recently.
Four throwback memories you are proud of
- Nandi award in 2011
- Meeting director Trivikram in 2012 when I went for a casting call and he telling me that he was a fan of my show
- Last day of shoot at Atta Kodallu when the entire team and Zee Telugu showered immense love on me.
- Watching Gabbar Singh first day first show in Sandhya theatre
Lessons learnt from three role models
- There is no shortcut to success.
- Keep smiling no matter what
- Never take selfies with strangers in public spaces
Three things you think should change in India
- This generation’s selfishness and obsession with selfies...
- Harassment of women. Women are a blessing to the world. I have deep respect for them
- Unnecessary criticism of successful people
Professional milestones you are proud of
- Starting my own production house
- Watching people recognise me
- Meeting Pawan Kalyan on the sets of Attarintiki Daaredi, he saying he knew me and he asking me casually “Enti kaburlu Pradeep”.
What’s on your mind right now
That I should grow bigger and launch better shows. Want to earn enough to be able to open a Pradeep school and Pradeep hospital that serves the public for free.
Five websites you visit and want to recommend to your readers
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google and transport.telangana.gov.in/so that you know when you jumped the signal and pay the challans on time and be a responsible citizen
Best compliment received
A college girl messaged me on FB that her granny who was in grief after losing her husband laughed for the first time after five months when she saw my show KTUC.
Five people you follow on social media
Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Pawan Kalyan, Mahesh and Kapil Sharma.