Is RJing a stepping stone towards Acting?
The best compliment that one can receive as an RJ, is that “Tame jeva sound karo chho evaaj dekhaav chho“ (you look exactly the way that you sound); because I know from experience that it is very challenging to create your own persona and ensure that your listeners connect with that persona. This is true about the audio medium, but what happens when RJs step into the visual medium? Do they garner the same popularity or does it boomerang? Ayushmann Khurrana, Manish Paul, Mantra are a few names who flew from the world of radio and landed bang in the middle of the film world. But even beyond Bollywood, our own urban Gujarati film industry is blossoming and many RJs are coming out of the cosy confines of their studios, and making their debut on the silver screen. As I came to know of this, I could not resist talking to them and sharing those conversations with you.
Chat With RJs
What oxygen is to life, Dhvanit is to Radio.
Dhvanit Thaker is Gujarat’s no.1 RJ based in Ahmedabad. He is in to radio since 2003. Currently Dhvanit hosts the morning shows on Radio Mirchi 98.3FM Ahmedabad. He released his first music album, ‘Majja ni Life’, in 2009, which was a hit. He also performed single for 2013 Gujarati album, ‘Click Kar!’. He has also sung for several Gujarati films like Kevi Rite Jaish, Better Half and Mohan Na Monkiz. He writes column ‘Dhvanit Sab Janta Hai’ in Ahmedabad Mirror and ‘Just Dhvanit’ in NavGujarat Samay. Dhvanit will debut as an actor in the upcoming Gujarati film ‘Vitamin She’ .
Just as his name suggests, Aseem Parikh is an endless bundle of joy and energy. RJ Aseem is an Ahmedabad-based Morning Radio Jock with Radio City 91.1 since 2008. He will debut as an actor in the upcoming Gujarati film ‘Hu Tu Tu Tu’.
How is RJing and acting different?
RJ Dhvanit: Radio Jockeying is acting through your voice. Your thoughts become your words and your words become your personality. Your audio personality reaches out to your listener through the intriguing medium of radio. Your listener gets to know and understand what you aim to project through sound, languages as well as music. On radio one may chose to represent one’s real self or a real or unreal character. Acting on screen in a visual entertainment medium requires a special ability to portray a definite character. Viewers read you through your expressions, your physical self and your ability to emote. Radio gives you the freedom of anonymity. Cinema almost snatches it away.
RJ Aseem: RJing is more spontaneous, more instinctive. You might have planned to do something totally different and midway just switch to some other madness. There are times when you don’t even plan anything about what you’ll say. Acting is very planned that way and very methodical. You can give 5 takes and the best one will be selected. But since I’ve done a lot of theatre I trickle that down to film acting by going through the shot in your mind ten times and giving it the best shot in the first take. But RJing is like the girlfriend which will show you something new every now and then and films is like the wife about whom you know what is gonna be coming up 😉
After working in a film how does your perspective towards watching film changes? (As you also do film reviews)
RJ Dhvanit: Well, you are simply robbed of the simple joys of watching a film. Once you know the technical aspects of the construction of a scene and the amount of hard work that goes behind, you start appreciating the skills more than you used to. For me, now I understand lights and cinematography better. I understand editing better. I have grown to be more considerate than how I used to be.
RJ Aseem: That was my first fear when I took this up. I’m such a worshipper of films that the concept of reviewing which people have is something which I don’t agree with. I hate it when people with hardly any authority criticise a film technically. It can be a perspective not a downright ripping apart of the product. I will still watch a film with the same perspective, even the film I’m acting in. Though I may not review it myself. But I’m a part of ‘Hu Tu Tu Tu’ from the acting perspective and not the making. So I can still afford to review films. The day I make my own film, I will stop reviewing
What demands more efforts – Acting v/s RJing?
RJ Dhvanit: Everything demands efforts. Once you get habituated, things come naturally to you. Continuous efforts help you attune your mind to the goal of a task and its execution. For me, acting is more difficult as I am not too fond of camera. Radio comes naturally to me due to the habit of listening to it daily during my school days.
RJ Aseem: It’s always about what you enjoy doing the most. Acting is my first love since childhood. RJing comes naturally to me because that is being me. Acting needs you to be someone else- physically, mentally and verbally. So preparation wise I guess acting would need more efforts. Though wake me up at 3 in the night and tell me to do a radio show or act, I would be able to do both because I love it so much. The effort in acting is the makeup part. Applying it, keeping it and then removing it. I salute people who can do it daily. I salute women who are so passionate about it. Make up is a must for acting due to the lights and uniformity etc. I can do a radio show with anything on or without anything on and no one will care 😉
Do you think your popularity will work positively for your film or does it create more pressure?
RJ Dhvanit: Let me share the reason for doing this film. I am acting in ‘Vitamin She’ to combat with the fear of being judged. Over a period of years, a lot of you would have said “Dhvanit, it’s easy to review a movie. It is easy to ramble about a film every Friday; it’s difficult to act in one.” I am sure if I start playing tennis, people won’t come to watch it for my popularity as an RJ. They will judge me for my talent of playing tennis. I am prepared to face the pressure.
RJ Aseem: Popularity is too big a word actually because it’s more like a friendly attachment to someone they listen to every morning. But yes if your friend is acting in a film or starting a new business or anything else, one is bound to have few expectations. Especially since I also review films. But we are not going to pitch it that way. If globally popular superstars can give box office duds, then my popularity is nothing compared to it. The film should speak for itself. But the expectations part is like learning to fly. It’s exciting and scary at the same time 😉
One Factor which made you selects the film?
RJ Dhvanit: One fear per year. That’s my goal in life. I have decided to take up one hidden fear of mine every year and try to fight it out. I did Sky Diving in South Africa to get rid of my fear of falling. Now it is time for the reluctance to face the camera to vanish away.
RJ Aseem It’s fresh. But that’s an old line. It’s fresher than fresh. But that’s an old line too. But along with being a nice story which appeals to all ages, it has a great young team who is working to make a great product. Has that been said before? 😉
Which filmy character/personality you relate with Aditi Raval?
RJ Dhvanit: ‘Basanti’ from Sholay.
RJ Aseem The fun, the madness, the craziness. The girl who will tell you to drive slowly just because she is yet to get married. It would be a mix of ‘Geet’ from Jab We Met and ‘Anjali’ (Kajol) from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai…with an added spice and added: p emojis 😉
Chat with Directors
Abhishek Jain known as a Trend setter in Gujarat film industry. He is an alumnus of Whistling Woods. After finishing the course, he assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali & Subhash Ghai on Saawariya and Yuvvraaj respectively. Then he moved to Ahmedabad and made his debut film, Kevi Rite Jaish in Gujarati language. Not many will remember but the fact is he too has been an RJ. Yes RJ Abhishek used to host a show called ‘Purani Jeans’ on Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM & just like the way Subhash Ghai ni film ma aemno naano role hoy chhe aevi j rite ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ film na ek scene ma Aeno potano j show background ma sambhlaay chhe 😉 Recently he published Aa To Just Vaat Chhe- a book on his experiences while making his first two urban Gujarati films. You will also find my name in his book 😉 or in an opening thank you credit list of the film ‘Bey Yaar’.
Dhwani Gautam is a Film Maker who has done his masters in cinema from Delhi. His Film Industry experience spans to 10 years and still counting within which he has assisted bollywood directors for Hindi film. He has done few Punjabi films and made many TVC’s for several brands. Currently he is working on Romance Complicated – an urban Gujarati film as a Director, writer, associate producer and actor. Future projects: Hindi action thriller film and another Gujarati film.
By selecting an RJ in your film do you want to cash in their popularity or do you seriously see them fitting into the role?
Abhishek Jain: The first priority is the film and then comes its marketing. So if the RJ fits in the role and has the knack for being present onscreen then later why not cash in on his popularity. But if there are advantages to it, there are also disadvantages because the listeners haven’t seen the RJ, they like him/her as an audio personality and they build their own set of imaginary figure about him/her, there is a risk if the RJ doesn’t match up to the imagination, and people might out rightly reject him/her too. Also, being exposed to such a large medium suddenly can lead to discomfort or disloyalty in the audience’s mind
Dhwani Gautam: In my opinion I will not take RJ for my film as an actor if he/she is not suitable to character or role. For me important is acting skill not his/her popularity among the people. If I take an RJ for my film and he/she can’t deliver what the character wants then no popularity will help. People rate acting and not popularity. So we can’t cash in his/ her on screen presence if he or she is not an actor. I do the casting on basis of role and character. What it demands and what it wants in film.
I have observed that VJs and RJs easily get in to films…what’s your take?
Abhishek Jain: I don’t see a very direct connect sheerly because radio medium is an audio medium and cinema is audio visual medium. Plus the latter is a larger medium of communication. But having said that there have been examples of RJ turning into actors also because of their talent and understanding of both the mediums. I can’t be given as an example just because I was not made for radio and nor did I pursue it as a career option, it was a very strategic call to take up RJing so that I can catch up on the language as well as keep myself abreast with the media industry in Gujarat.
Dhwani Gautam: Yes you do see many RJ’s & VJ’s in films but their success depends on their Acting.
If you had to cast me what type of role would best fit?
Abhishek Jain: If I have to cast Aditi, I would go in for what she is like in real life or what her perceived on air image is. That is safer and more acceptable.
Dhwani Gautam: For you I can plan a bubbly character that is fun loving and chilled out types.
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