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Faces of FM

The film Radio is up for release, with the finest face for radio, Himesh as hero. We’re not sure if you’re waiting for that one. What we have for you instead are Kamla Ka Hamla, Angry Ganeshan, Ghanta Singh, Love Guru and Sudarshan (or Sud)...

entertainment Updated: Nov 02, 2009 20:57 IST

The film Radio is up for release, with the finest face for radio, Himesh as hero. We’re not sure if you’re waiting
for that one. What we have for you instead are Kamla Ka Hamla, Angry Ganeshan, Ghanta Singh, Love Guru and Sudarshan (or Sud). These are the most popular, anonymous characters of Mumbai radio. You’ve all
heard them behind a radio mask. Post-Halloween, check out their faces >> P 2

‘I played a prank saying I have been arrested’

“Phone Ring to Ghanta Singh”- you must have heard this numerous times on Radio One 94.3 FM. Prince is the voice behind Ghanta Singh. It’s one of those in-between fillers that never fail to get your attention.

The concept that started a couple of years back, with 900 genuine prank calls played on unsuspecting people. We talk to the Mumbai-based jockey who’s the voice of the absurd Surd. Ghanta Singh is unplugged every day from 5 am-9 pm.

Why did you choose Ghanta and not some other name?
I chose Ghanta Singh because the name is funny and immediately gets the attention.

Tell us about the funny Singh.
Ghanta Singh calls regular people— small-scale enterpreneurs, shopkeepers, and office-goers. He speaks with a funny accent and asks the weirdest questions that surprise and irritate people. They’re all genuine calls. People have abused me, but I’ve picked up compliments as well. The character is now known across Pune, Delhi, Banglore, Kolkata and Mumbai.

How do you feel about being Ghanta Singh?
It feels nice; I speak my heart, and I can express myself in a humorous way. But I stick to lighter things and don’t touch personal issues that might hurt sentiments.

When did you realise you had a gift for the comic?
Couple of years ago, when I suddenly learned to appreciate the brighter side to everything. That’s the reason Ghanta Singh has been successful and become a benchmark of sorts.

What are you doing when not in character?
I mimic celebrities like Big B, Sanjay Dutt and Dharmendra. I have also been a part of the Comedy Circus and have been on TV. I have also recorded for animated characters, such as Mr Magoo on Pogo.

Have you ever gotten into trouble for your prank calls?
No, never! In fact, on April 1, this year, when I played a prank saying, “Ghanta Singh has been arrested for his prickly funny language,” I had concerned listeners calling and enquiring about me. It got even the producers concerned. Proves that people enjoy my pranks.

What gives you the kicks of doing this?
No weird experience really, but I love it when people actually keep a bizarre conversation going. Soha Ali khan, Sonu Sood, Arbaaz Khan, Abhay Deol, among others are now fans. I’m glad I enjoy my job.
—Aahana Gandhi

Suresh Menon
‘I mimicked Shah Rukh Khan’
Kamla Ka Hamla and Angry Ganeshan are hits on 93.5 Red FM. Suresh Menon is the voice behind them.

Suresh Menon, an actor, comedian, TV personality and a voice behind many characters on air. Until now, Menon has given voice to around 30 characters. He’s a hit with Kamla Ka Hamla and Angry Ganeshan on 93.5 Red FM. He’s also won two RAPA awards for his character Kamla Ka Hamla.

What’s so different about your characters?
Angry Ganeshan is a common man who rants against any injustice done to him and speaks on behalf of his fellow citizens in the society. Whereas Kamla is a witty eunuch who stands at Mumbai’s traffic signals and picks on celebrities
in her own style.

How did radio happen to you?
I’ve been into television for the past 16 years doing regular shows and soaps, so some of my friends suggested that I should give movies a shot too. As far as radio is concerned, it was my passion and I’ve been into it for seven years now. This medium is expanding the way television is. Also, it’s an easier way to reach out to people, so I prefer radio to other mediums.

Do people recognise your voice off air?
Yes, they do. They love listening to my characters and they compliment me as well.

Ever got any weird request or call?
(Laughs) Oh man! I get many. We gave a call to this lady and Hoze told her that there’s Shah Rukh Khan on the line and I mimicked him. But sadly, she didn’t fall for it. In return, I got a lot of ‘gaalis’. We actually had to make some serious editing before we aired it.

Is radio jockeying an easy job?
Not really. It’s quite a task to entertain people on air.

Ever got into any trouble with the gimmicks that you do?
(Thinks) Once an offended Karan Johar said that he feels sorry for me because I’m making money out of his name and advised me to look at myself in the mirror. I played this record on air and replied that I looked at myself in the mirror and actually had to be in the ICU for 2 months! (Chuckles)

— Samya Dinware and Monica Patel

Love Guru
‘Sorry, I cannot reveal my identity’

(He agreed to give us the interview on condition that his name remains unrevealed)
Love Guru, aired on Radio City 91.1, has been running successfully for the last 6 years making it the highest rating show on radio.

Mr. X (as we planned to name him) continues to remain anonymous all these years. He says his anonymity is the USP of the show!

A paediatric by profession, he joined radio 14 years ago. He’s also written scripts for various television serials like Dill Mil Gaye, Sanjeevani, India Calling and is currently writing a script for a film. He got the Promax award for the Best Hindi Radio Jockey.

Are you serious that you’ve never been recognised?
Yes, but that’s very rare. I get caught by my patients and by people like you. You guys just find me out!

How did you become Love Guru?
Love Guru was initiated six years ago. It was initially supposed to be a sex counseling show but then love related problems started coming in and I started offering them solutions.

Yours is basically a night show and the response is pretty good as well. Ever thought of shifting your slot to some other time in the day?
No, we prefer that slot because a lot of students, people out on a drive or homemakers chill out at that time.

Are the calls recorded or do you answer them live?
The calls are recorded earlier but they are answered live on air.

What’s working in radio like?
It’s fun, as long as you enjoy socialising and interacting with people. I love doing it and will continue to do it as long as my listeners want me to.

Do you fear the revelation of identity would lessen your popularity?
Yes. There is always a bit of hesitancy but when a person is anonymous, it makes it easier for them to share their problems. I can’t reveal my identity.

Radio Mirchi has Dr Love… Does he give competition to Love Guru?
(Retorts) Have you heard my show? We have like innumerable calls coming in every day. Even if competing channels have the same concept, my show still remains the highest rated on radio with a single RJ, as we celebrate the 6th anniversary of the show. It has also been recommended for the Limca Book of Records.

You have never gotten into trouble?
(Nods) No. There has never been any issue regarding my show.My answers have always been sensible and sympathetic for the listeners. And the ones that are too sensitive for the show are avoided.

— Samya Dinware and Rizwan Sikwani

‘Only I have access to the secret book’

Hansi Ke Phuware with Sudarshan – Please call me Sud! airs on Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM. Sunil Grover is the voice behind the funny Sud.

He is seen on TV as the duplicate Shah Rukh Khan and has been true to copy paste of his role too. But he says he is not a complete Sud in real life. Although he does agree that there is a bit of Sud in everybody.

When did the comedy bug bite you?
I graduated with B Com and I did my masters in theatres. But I wanted to experience the ‘office environment’ at least once in life. So I did that for a little while but then gradually luck had a toss and finally here I am— an entertainer!

How did Sud happen?
Radio Mirchi gave me a call for RJ-ing but I was busy with shooting for other shows and movies so I bounced them this idea of Sudarshan. Trust me, it was a risk for them and they were courageous enough to take it.

Do people recognise you off air as the voice behind Sud?
(Laughs) Yes they do. People have found out. I wonder how they do.

Go on.
There were these couple of people, whom I know. They were talking about Sud. It was a total filmy situation for me. It’s nice to hear what people think about Sud. He has his own brand value.

Does the Hansi Ke Phuware book exist?
(Laughs) Yeah, it does but it’s a secret and only I have access to it.

Are you as funny as Sud in real life too?
(Silence) Smiles. (Long pause) Sud is not completely me; it’s my take on people like Sud. I believe there is a bit of Sud in everybody. I guess the people who I am with will tell you how funny I am.

What do you want your audience to call you?
Entertainer. It will be the biggest compliment for me.

Do you have any message for people?
Radio is a wonderful medium. You switch the radio stations every second, so it’s a challenge to communicate through radio when you try to be funny. You have to be funny every moment.

— Monica Patel and Rizwan Sikwani

On Himesh Reshammiya’s Radio

Suresh Menon: Aha! I need to tell my manager that every RJ will need one woman along with him on the show, man!
Prince: I think he should only be singing on radio, rather than acting in Radio.
Sunil Grover: Oh! Himesh Reshammiya (laughs)! Are you guys promoting the movie? (Laughs more) Honestly, I like Reshammiya, he is multi-talented yaar! The music is already a hit and I’m waiting for Mann ka radio. I wish him all the best but I don’t want to spoof him this time (chuckles).
Love Guru: Well I don’t think it’s the first time radio’s been covered in a movie. We’ve seen it before in Munnabhai, Salaam Namaste and Rang De Basanti. But anyway, I hope he’s done justice to the role and I am looking forward to watching the movie.