Inspiring Stories
A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.

Avinash Bharadwaj

I started my career with one of the first mega serials in Kannada called Janani. I was a child prodigy then. I was an all-rounder in my school and even in college. I always used to be the cultural champ in my school and college. After Janani I did about 30 to 40 big projects with Balaji telefilms, Nimbus and other good production houses. Something that really excited me was hosting and anchoring. There was a show called crazy time in Udaya channel, which I hosted for 3 to 4 years. I did a lot of emceeing after that. Finally, I entered radio.

First, I joined World Space (satellite radio). There was the only one FM station in Bangalore then. I was the first Kannada Jockey for World Space and worked for 1.5 years. We launched a complete Kannada channel for the first time on World Space called "Sparsha". After that, Radio Mirchi wanted to launch their station in Bangalore. Radio Mirchi knew about me. So, one of their first choices was me. Radio Mirchi is one of the biggest networks of India. It is a fantastic community to work with. Radio always excited me because I do a lot of voice modulation. I am a writer as well. So, that was a good platform for me to ex-plore all my talents. I joined Radio Mirchi in 2006. We launched Mirchi in 2006 and I was a part of the launch. It's been 7 years. I am one of the longest surviv-ing radio jockeys in Bangalore.

There are a lot of challenges that you need to face as a RJ. Generating daily content is one of them. There is no holiday, nor can you ask for one. There is no Deepavali, there is no Dussera. Whatever you have, you celebrate the same with your listeners; they are your family. Other than being a RJ, I used to do a lot of work in Mirchi. I used to be a celeb manager; I used to write sparklers for ads. I used to write characters like "Climax Kodanda", "Quarter Kamesha", "Drama Murty" and many things like that.

Radio was definitely a great platform. I was popular even before I entered radio, as I was a Video Jockey. People knew my face and we had huge fan following when it came to Udaya and back then, that was the only Kannada channel. Being VJ earned me many fans. I used to sign hundreds of autographs wherever I went. It used to be madness; being a VJ was really stardom then. Although I was a VJ, radio brought out a lot of better things in me.

What inspired you to enter this field? Generally in college days, people prefer a safe job and at least in those days where media was almost out of a common man's reach, what made you take this step of entering media?

Very true! I would say that I was lucky enough because my parents always encour-aged me to do whatever I wanted to do. I always followed my dream. Today I am living my dream. I never wanted to take the same path and follow the lane. I wanted to be different from initial days. I was a part of Cultural Department of Karnataka. My family gave me freedom to live my dreams and helped me take this decision. But it was like a gamble. I had friends who wanted to be engineers, CAs and things like that. I was in the lot of a very few who didn't want to be what they wanted to be. Luckily, by God's grace, I got the right platform to display my talent at the right time. To some extent, I have achieved what I wanted to.

Mentor of your life?

I have had a lot of mentors, not just one. There are a lot of people who have guided me to be what I am today in one way or the other. I don't have one particular mentor as such. When I was 10 years of age, I started learning at theatre with A S Murthy sir. He was a famous theatre person. He was definitely a teacher for me. After that, there have been a lot of people who have guided me to become what I am today. Challenges that you had to face?

When you're following your dream, you have to sacrifice a lot of things. Dreams don't come true without sweating. Nothing is possible without hard work. You literally have to be away from your family a lot of times. But no complains. No regrets. As I said, as an RJ you've no holidays. There have been times when I worked for 20hrs daily. I am not joking nor am I exaggerating. There was a time when I was doing this show called "Yaariguntu Yaarigilla". It was a very big show then. I had to be live there, for which I used to shoot 2 episodes. At the same time I had to be on radio every day. It was a true challenge in itself because I had to be in both the places. They were in two extreme ends. One was in Nelamangala (place in Bangalore) and the other one in Bannerghatta road (other side of Nelamangala). So, I used to go in the morning to shoot at 7 am or 8 am and shoot till 12.30pm. Then rush back to the radio studio, finish the show, come back for the TV show and shoot till 1 'O clock in the night. Then, rest for 3 to 4 hrs. Then wake up, get ready and the same routine continued.

How did you maintain your health then?

My health took a toll. I almost lost my voice. Once I went on air and I had no voice to talk at all. I am sure none of the RJs would've done it. Because my vocal cord was over strained, I was almost not heard. Listeners understood that I was on TV and radio at the same time. So, I asked them for remedies. They were so sweet enough to give hundreds of remedies. There were people who brought Ayurvedic juice to the studio. I always had a lot of love for my listeners. There are still listeners who talk to me on a very regular basis, though I have left radio 5 months ago. They are almost like my second family. There are listeners who listened for all the seven years without missing.

Regrets in life?

I was supposed to host a show called comedy time. I was busy that day shooting and they wanted me immediately for the shoot. Since I couldn't make it that day, Ganesh got the chance to host that show. The rest is history. Had I taken that, it could've been a better platform for me, I feel. But no regrets! I missed that opportunity. Which one do you rate more RJing or VJing?

Radio is always challenging but it's fantastic. TV is a bigger camera and there are a lot of people working behind the scene. There is a cameraman, a director, a producer. You are the face of the show. In radio, it's never like that. If you are a RJ, you are the producer, you are the director, you are the script writer, you are the show runner, you are the presenter, you are the technician, and you are all in one. That's the biggest challenge. It's a challenge on a daily basis. Every day you have to create something new. You can't repeat stuff. There is always that rating pressure. You will be left with no other option. You have to be no.1 on your shows and rating wise also. You have to look for the content and skim through it. You've to read newspaper, you have to check internet for required information, you have to be ready and keep yourself updated on everything. You've to choose your topic for the day. It never happens that you can go to the studio at your show time and come back because you've to prepare for your shows, as there is nobody else to prepare for you. Otherwise you will be blank. Preparation is a must!

Radio Michi always considered me as an asset. So, they allowed me to do other things simultaneously apart from my work. I've always ensured that I am complete all the work assigned to me and only then, I go out for other works of mine. It was and work... for me and nothing else. But I always enjoyed doing that. I was hosting a show called "Gruha Lakshmi" for Zee TV in which I travelled all across Karnataka. I used to, sometimes, shoot 4 episodes a day, which was very stressful. In between I shot a movie called Circus for about 50 days. Thus I used to manage radio and films simultaneously.

How did you get opportunities to meet Bollywood stars and whom all have you met?

I feel very lucky to have gotten a chance to interview Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Mr. Aamir Khan, Mr. Salman Khan and others. In fact, I got a chance to spend a whole day with Mr. Bachchan. That was a dream-come-true. Thanks to Mr. Sudeep (Kannada film actor). Someday I had shared my dream with him of meeting Bachchan sir and he had promised me that he would make that a reality. He kept up to his promise. I could meet Mr. Aamir Khan, because I was chosen to host the premier party of the movie "3 idiots" in Bangalore. I was the first person to make Salman Khan talk in Kannada. Almost all Kannada stars have come to my show. They are the big stars yet, very down to earth.

Message: "People call me lucky. I don't deny. Luck holds the hands of many people but your role comes post that. It is your talent and hard work that play a big role at that time. Luck doesn't come again and again to help you but your talent does, your hard work does, your willingness does.."

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on October 2013.

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