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Interviews |  21 Nov 2007 15:43 |  By Aaishwari

Nikhil Chinappa - 'I would like to go back to radio'

Apart from the Nikhil Chinappa the world recognises, there is this Nikhil Chinappa, absolutely unplugged, who confesses that he is actually an introvert who can't resist a good masala dosa!

Radioandmusic.com's Aaishwari Chouhan gets Nikhil Chinappa spilling the beans on his life, career graph and his latest venture with PDM - the Sunburn Festival in Goa.

Excerpts:


You started your career in radio and theatre in Bangalore. Were such unconventional careers as acceptable then as they are now?

Earlier, people were more aware of 'traditional' careers like medicine and law but of late, unconventional careers are becoming more acceptable. But I only believe in the fact that it is only passion that makes any career successful for the person pursuing it.


You came to Mumbai after winning the MTV VJ Contest. How did your life change after that?

Once in Mumbai, travel and work schedules became quite hectic because this is how it is for people who come to Mumbai to ground themselves here. There were two major things that I first did - (a) brought a hell lot of new underwear for myself and (b) learnt how to survive on cornflakes and milk for breakfast. Although I stayed in touch with all my friends back in Bangalore, making friends in Mumbai was very tough and it took me sometime before I got myself real good friends to hang out with.

You are also famous as the Flavour Boy on Madras FM. What's with the Flavour Boy image?

Those were the best days of my life. I enjoyed life the most on radio. Radio is a medium where you instantly play music, whereas on television or elsewhere, you stand in front of the camera and schedule the music to be played. If ever I have to choose between theatre, veejaying or radio, I would like to go back to radio. In fact, I would like to have a radio station of my own and play music as I want to. But this is exactly what we are doing at Sunburn 2007. We are getting the best DJs to perform with the aim of playing music for everyone to make the listening enjoyable. I always wanted these DJs to play in India, and with PDM and Smirnoff thinking on the same lines as I do, Sunburn finally happened.

Are you trying to revolutionise the music scene in India with Sunburn?

Not revolutionise, but we are here to expose music. As in, the music revolution happened when digital music happened in India; with Sunburn, the focus is to show what good music is all about.

25 years down the line, children would actually tell their parents - 'What kind of music are you listening to? Tune in to this one…' You know, the kind of knowledge people would have about music; this is what Sunburn is all about.


In 2000, you appeared in a movie called Snip and then in Kudiyo ka Hai Zamana. Do you think you will have to work really hard on the acting end to make it as a successful actor?

I am very clear that I am not an actor. It irritates me to paint my face and wait for hours before a five-minute shot. But this doesn't mean that I have cut all my options out on the acting end. I am okay with fun roles and fun scripts. In fact, Snip and Kudiyon ka hai Zamana happened because I liked my roles there. I have zero Bollywood intentions which is very unlike any other television personality. I have a mind of my own!

What made you shift to deejaying in 2002? Why have you been away from trick deejaying?

For me, music is above everything else. Trick DJ with something like scratching and all while playing music, adds on to the DJ's performance for sure. But the core of deejaying, which is about what song to play and when to play it and how to blend it with other songs, is what every DJ should specialise in before opting for trick deejaying. Although I have always been away from trick deejaying, I concentrate more on the other aspects of deejaying. For instance, programming is the main aspect. Playing good music for at least three to four hours is what the DJ should know well. That's his job! Other than that, working with equipments, multi-players, effects machines, looping are the other aspects of deejaying. For me, deejaying happened out of frustration. I mean, I was so sick of the song 'Kaliyon ka Chaman' that to make sure that no such song is every played at any pub; I got into deejaying.

Being an architecture student, you never thought of pursuing architecture seriously?

I miss my career in architecture. I wish I could take up two jobs at the same time. But architecture is the kind of career which requires all your time and cannot be done part time; apart from the fact that you can do your own house or your friends' houses. And I have done the interiors of my house, according to what I feel and what makes me what I am.

How has an academic grounding in architecture help you in your career graph?

While hosting shows for MTV, it is my academic background which helps me talk, behave and react the way I do. And at Sunburn, it is because of architecture that I can take decisions on a lot of things. I believe, the landscape matters the most. Architecture has helped in arranging for the layout of Sunburn as in where will the ticket counters be, how many ticket counters I want, their sizes, the add-ons to the counter and all that. Because these are all the things that make the most of the space and it is finally what people notice when they step anywhere first. I want people to enjoy from their very first step into the festival and that can be done with the right kind of architectural sense.

And where does all the madness and razor sharp humour come from?

Coffee! But truly speaking, I have an attitude wherein I can't tolerate fools for any which reason. I am kind of an extreme person as in either I will have zero interest in something or else will be completely sucked into it. I also love not being mad and just sitting with a cup of tea back home and reading a book. So my life in extremes is what the root to all my madness is.

How would you introduce Sunburn to someone who has never heard about it?

Hmm… I would say that Sunburn is Asia's biggest music festival happening at Goa. It's happening on a beach and in daytime so don't forget to carry your hat and sunglasses. Even if you don't understand the music, this festival is entirely fun-oriented and will open you to a new, great experience.

So, whose baby is Sunburn?

I can simply say the idea was PDM's and the creative input is from my end. Smirnoff has a great role in all the ground research and activity which is why Sunburn is actually happening.


And what's your involvement with PDM?

I am the creative consultant at PDM and their festival partner. I look after the creatives and the content. Apart from this, I am not involved with PDM any which way.


How have you been able to be creative at MTV?

At MTV, we actually have a tough time convincing the producer to allow more experiments with the show we work on.

For instance, we just had in-house shoots for MTV Select and then, one day it struck me to go to the college campus for it and it worked out well. And then, the idea of having a bathroom set-up; this has been the most spoken about concept that we used at Select but now we have ripped it apart. Also, when stars come on the sets of Select I never make them feel as if they are stars and even they enjoy it. It's simply because people are tired of listening to 'Aapne iska music banaya. Aapko kaisa laga?' Getting into an informal conversation with the stars is what makes the show different and is liked more by the audience.


With MTV, how has your job profile grown? And with MTV revamped - what is your contribution overall presently?

With MTV, I am more into improvising my shows and all my creatives mostly revolve around my own shows only. But with MTV going online, I am trying to contribute to the digital end as well.

What's the next big thing for Nikhil Chinappa apart from Sunburn?

Hopefully, Andaman & Nicobar Islands is what I am planning around February. I have taken 49 dives all together and I expect my 50th dive to be at Andaman & Nicobar. Also hopefully again, I am planning to take a month off and go for a vacation. So these are the two big things that I am looking forward to in 2008.

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