Nikhil Chinnapa on acting, veejaying and setting up a radio station.. interviewed by Abishai Fernandez.
What have you been lately?
I have been working on my website www.submerge.in based on electronic dance music. I’m working on bringing down international acts Richard Duran, Roger Sanchez and a few more by the end of the year. I’m also so helping a friend to set up a radio station in the Maldives.
Will the station be a genre specific or will it have chart hits?
It will play the top 40 songs on the charts in various genres. I used to be a radio jockey in Bangalore before joining MTV. I’m finally getting there.
How come have you not done any other major show on MTV besides Select? <b1>
Select is actually the longest running show of MTV India. It was launched on September 1997. And It stuck with me as the VJ on it. The show is doing quite well. Besides Select, I do MTV Tech Check and a lot of other shows.
Isn’t doing the same thing too rigorous for ten years?
No, Its called working!
What about the channel’s revamp?
It’s a youth-centric channel and needs to adapt and reinvent itself constantly. That’s what we are doing now.
There are plans to introduce new shows and veejays. We’re making it a lot more interactive. The idea is to make MTV, everyone’s space.
What was your show Hello Friends all about?
I played the character of Ross in it. It was a lot of fun because I worked with Maria Goretti and Cyrus Broacha. The show was quite like Friends.
Why didn’t you act after that?
It’s not my forte. I’ve no aspirations to take it further. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I can’t put grease paint and sit around for hours sipping sugary sweet tea and shoot for five minutes in the day.
I’m happy playing music, getting back to radio, plan scuba diving holidays.
In retrospect, how did deejaying happen to you?
I’ve always been an avid clubber. At some point, there was an explosion of Bollywood music. Every night, it was the same music played five times a night in every hot spot in Mumbai.
I had a lot of music to share. So, I called up a bunch of friends and launched Submerge Nights. We had 30 people on the first night.. in three nights, we were up to 600! I guess people had enough of Kaliyon ka chaman.
Have you felt insecure with the new veejays coming in?
No way, there’s plenty of room. There is no competition. It’s such a large market.
What according to you are the latest genres and subgenres in the electronic dance music scene?
It’s difficult to define. Everybody thought Minimal was a fad but it evolved into three subgenres — chiller, funky and a hard techy version. People don’t really recognise it. They say it’s stabbing synth sound. It’s difficult to compartmentalise one genre from the other.
When would we see you doing something bigger on television?
To me bigger would be when I would be diving with sharks. You’re also into bungee jumping and skydiving. The feeling of both is overwhelming and relaxing.. it’s scary too but once you get over that, the feeling is something that can only can be felt.