Radio One RJ Rakesh Kumar - 'The task at hand when doing a reality show is how to get a tortoise in a little aquarium and sell it'
Agent Rakesh as he's popularly known, is Radio One Bangalore's James Bond. Producer and radio Jockey Rakesh Kumar continues to woo his fans with his quick wit and satire. Director for major campaigns on Radio One like Gellrappo Gelli, Lakshadipathy, Summer Dhamaka, World Cup Cricket, College Champions, Bollywood Baadshah and many more, this young man's motto in life is "Every phase of life should be eventful and enterprising.
Namita Gupta caught up with Kumar for a tete a tete. -
You're in a very different role at FM 94.3. What is your role at the station all about?
I'm an Outdoor Broadcast Radio Jockey. I'm like a reporter on the radio who keeps you abreast of all the current happenings in the city. I don't sit in the studios or at my desk. I'm always on the move. Wherever, whenever there's something exciting happening you'll find me connecting to the listeners. I'm a roaming reporter who puts people from all walks of life, live on air and keeps the city plugged in what's happening around them.
Like - we got people to talk their views on air when the cricket matches were happening. And I would give expert cricket analysis from the actual spot. When we lost the match because of Steve Buckoner, we got together and wrote a letter to him. We are actually doing things which are common to us, but with a different take to it, with a completely different stance.
But it's not always that something of importance is on. And you are on air every day. What happens when some days are a little dull and nothing exciting is happening around town?
There are never any dull days with us. When there's nothing big happening in the city, we create our own stuff. We've done our own World days - like the men's day, the World Lungi Day, World Washbasin Day, World Nail Day and the likes. We bring out the humour element to an object, which is of great importance in our day-to-day lives, yet it's so surprising how we never realise its significance.
How do you come up with such crazy and fun ideas? And how do you bring a fun element to your programmes?
Who would imagine a piece of cloth like a lungi becoming so popular. Where did this lungi, which has no end, originate from? Have you ever imagined a life without a washbasin? It is the only thing after a mobile phone, which we use the most in our daily lives. And also nails. Have you ever wondered if you would grip things or scratch our own selves if we didn't have nails? We go to coffee shops, college campuses or malls and put people who have interesting views on air. We get a group of people to talk about some funny incidents to give a real touch to the whole scenario. The programme has become very popular with everyone.
Why do you think it has caught everyone's fancy?
Because we bring the Wow or a What element to it. People come out of it either with a wow or a what if a question is raised. We get their emotional aspect out with these issues.
How do you come up with these innovative ideas?
By keeping my eyes wide open. The question always looming large on my mind is what's happening around me. You have to think on your toes all the time. I'm out on the streets every day thinking of fresh new ways and things to do. I don't have the luxury of sitting in the air-conditioned offices or studios. I have to prepare quick enough to capture reactions and filter the right stuff on air. The task at hand when doing a reality show is how to get a tortoise in a little aquarium and sell it. There is lots of coordination involved - people's right to express their views, plugging them live, connecting with the studio and lot of times some celebrities timings are haywire and they come with their own baggage, so it's important to know how to deal with that. And at the end of all this, the rules of wow or what still apply so, it's not just filling up the blanks, but real and exclusive fun where people have something to take home. It has to live and fatafat. Even the content is created by us.
Any recent incidents you remember?
I recently went to Thailand to promote Thai tourism. I had to generate interest among the listeners. I was at this MBK mall there which is humungous so for people to relate to their own city, I said this is like all the malls - Forum, Garuda etc. put together in Bangalore and immediately you had the picture in mind.
Who is your favourite RJ?
I think Prithvi is the best. I'm not saying this because we work together, but because he's a perfectionist in delivery. In Bangalore's fast track life, if there's someone who's putting a smile on several faces and giving people a good time, before they get to work, it's him. His HQ (humour quotient) is par excellence and in good taste.
Are you open to working on television?
I have done a lot of stage shows and am exposed to thousands of people live. I'm also established as a professional MC / Compere / Corporate Gaming Expert for renowned events and companies across the city. I've had a refined experience of working in HP for two years. I also played host to DJs - Clitus, Chicku, Hussain, Dheeraj, Sash and Ivan's theme parties. And I played official host to Ricky Ponting during his visit to India and was his spokesperson to the media.
Television would easily be my cup of tea, but I would prefer English and not regional languages, although I can speak Kannada, Tamil and Hindi.
What keeps you ticking?
The exclusivity I give to each of my programmes is what excites me. How I connect to people in real life, while connecting to local thoughts at the same time, bringing a nice variation in thoughts.