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Here are the talkies!

Anusha Dandekar is the latest, but the film industry has always attracted the tele-talkers

The spontaneity required for a host is very different from the one required for the camera Divya Dutta

OUT OF THE BOX With the boundaries between different mediums blurring, most veejays say they are part of the larger entertainment industry

They have literally talked their way to the tinselville. Anusha Dandekar is just the latest addition to the increasing list of veejays crossing over to Bollywood. If we stretch our memory when the word was not coined, there have been Smita Patils, Renuka Shahanes and Divya Duttas who switched off their television careers successfully for the celluloid charm.

Smita Patil was a newsreader with Bombay Doordarshan before Shyam Benegal spotted her for Charandas Chor. Renuka Shahane was synonymous with Surabhi when Sooraj Barjatya made her the effervescent bhabhi in Hum Aapke Hain Koun.

Says Divya Dutta, whose bubbly charm gathered the highest TRPs for Superhit Muqabala on Doordarshan, before she became a regular on the big screen, "It is not a natural progression. You can't say that every veejay can make it to films. I was good at both acting and hosting events during my college days. The spontaneity required for a host is very different from the one required for the camera."

Soon there was a glut. While Malaika and Sophiya made a name in item numbers, others turned out to be much more ambitious. However, it is said they play the image they portray in their shows. If Gaurav is the funny guy of Channel V, his character has to be full of funny one-liners even if he is a villain in Sssshhh. Similarly Amrita carried her girl-next-door image on MTV when she debuted with Kitne Door Kitne Paas. Recently, Mahesh Manjrekar has used Anusha's firang accent to good effect in Viruddh. Agrees Amrita, "Initially you are taken for what you exude on television. Mehulji saw me on MTV and thought I suited the role. After that it depends on your worth."

Veejaying v/s acting

However, Anusha feels people are making too much of her accent. "It is being said the role was tailor-made for me. The foreign accent of the character helped for I don't know Hindi and have spent many years in Australia, but unlike the film I am a complete Indian who knows her culture. I am just too talkative and it was difficult to portray a reserved person and to cry on screen is the most difficult thing... so I had to act."

Anusha explains the difference best. "As a veejay you have to be natural but here you have to act naturally. Also you can't fiddle with the lines. On television, I can talk the way I like."

Most veejays remain in close touch with music, still all of them get bitten by the acting bug alone. Nikhil Chinappa is an exception here. The MTV veejay is a popular deejay. He made it big when he remixed the songs of Musafir. "I tried bit roles but found acting too slow. I lovemusichave been a deejay for three years. In fact, Sanjay Gupta heard me playing in a shack in Goa when he was shooting the `Rabba' song. He instantly offered me the film and I gave him four different versions of the song." With his remix versions of Dus Bahane and Salaam Namaste already doing well, Nikhil could be the next big thing in Bollywood as well. "I have never said that I am doing an earth-shattering job - be it as a host or mixing. I do what I love and try to be little different every time."

It is ironical that despite this generation cool attitude, which lets no opportunity go begging in taking a swipe at the contrived plots of Bollywood, everyone is queuing up for a lifeline in Bollywood. Next in line are Ranvir Shourie, Shruti Seth and of course Luke Kenny, who is debuting as a director with 13th Floor. Defends Anusha, "The criticism has always been good-hearted" And she is game to run around the trees because she can "make them look greener and brighter." Precisely, that's the effect of Bollywood.


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