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Quizzical, quaint and entertaining

Quizzing in the State is big time now and it reached infotainment levels with Mr Q. But for once PREMA MANMADHAN quizzes the quizzer

PHOTO: H VIBHU

SHORTEST NAME When he turned to quizzing instead of taking up a regular job, he also christened himself Mr Q Photo: H Vibhu

This guy displays no reflex action if you call him by the name his parents gave him. For he chose a name for himself when he passed out of a B-School and to cement the relationship with the name, got it patented, besides. Thus he responds to the name: Mr Q. "That was ten years ago. Since then, I have even filed my income tax returns in this name. Mr is my first name and Q the surname," says the smiling Mr Q. His father doesn't seem to mind his son's affinity with an alphabet, though. But his passport has his real name. And what might that be? "Mind if I don't tell? Because everyone knows me by this name," he counters. The mystique of the name seems to have grown on Mr Q. His quiz programmes have been aired in most of the channels in the State. When he passed out of Cochin University of Science and Technology with a Management degree, he took a decision to go off beat, not to go behind the MNCs or other big companies who came looking for bright youngsters on the campus, but to be an entrepreneur. He plunged headlong into the entertainment industry, with his new name.

Why Q?

"Well, I started off with the name because it was quizzes that I conducted, but after some time, when people started associating me with the name I thought, why not make it my very own and got it patented, of course after a laborious process."

Having started off with quizzes in schools, moving on to colleges, he hopped on to the small screen soon after. He established himself with his brand name, Mr Q successfully. "I have done over 1,250 live quizzes over 145 episodes on TV channels to date," he says. But what he cherishes most is the campaigns he did for the Maltova Brand. His team executed a 117-school quizzathon in Kerala involving 22,874 students and a 75 school campaign in Bangalore involving 16,426 students. But all the while, he was also gearing up for a parallel profession, while managing events and compering. "In the last five years, I have been involved in taking personality development sessions for several organisations. I started giving these sessions in schools and found that children looked forward to these. In fact they started calling me for advice, personally. That's when I thought it would be good to begin such sessions in schools too, for usually, training is given at the college level," Mr Q remarked. He has designed a one day leadership and attitude workshop for students of Class IX to XII, with audio visual content, interactive sessions to develop better communicative methods too, called "41" workshops. There are separate workshops for corporate companies.

His quiz shows on TV have more content than blah..blah, like the ones where hosts parrot readymade questions with written answers prepared by someone else. They are serious shows where mannerisms do not eclipse matter, like the quiz show on Asianet called Talentscan, inter collegiate show on Asianet, Quiz Time and a call-in show on Surya TV, Gandhi Quiz - a live quiz on Kairali TV. Last year he hosted a 52 episode - new concept quiz called Challenger, on Kairali TV. Currently, he is working on a new concept for a national TV channel, Mr Q says.

Mr Q has taken quizzing to areas where you least expect it, the police department. It was a traffic based quiz for the police and students. In yet another

initiative by the City Police at the Town Hall, Mr Q conducted quizzes to infotain the audience about safety and security rules recently. A police constable won the first quiz. A life of quizzing has led this eligible young bachelor, who chose the untrodden path to enter new fields where he would not have reached had he taken every management degree holder's path: He is on the assessment panel of leading software companies, when they visit college campuses for recruitment.

Packaging essential

"During my interaction with these students, I found that though many of them have the "right stuff" that a probable recruiter looks for - most of them have absolutely no clue as to how to package themselves and present themselves. Net result is that they fail to create a favourable impression on the interview panel. So as to correct these and add more character to a candidate's profile , I am scheduling a three step workshop series for college students, spread over four months.

Tired from quizzing, what does Mr Q do to relax? Paragliding and bungee jumping! Any regrets for having started out on an uncharted course? A big "No" comes from Mr Q, who also does not miss his name, since hardly anybody calls him by that name. What does his parents call him? "Mone" he says laughing.

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