Thursday, December 24, 2009

Radio gaga, not RJ gaga but definitely, Blade Shankar gaga!

Chennai has a good number of FM radio channels. I hardly bother with music CDs when I am driving because I have the radio that offers a variety of channels and shows, playing both latest songs as well as the oldie-goldies all the time.

The problem with radio is the whole RJ business!!

Radio Jockeys often do not seem to realise that what we listeners are so NOT interested in is their verbal diarrhea, general blabbering including animal noises in greeting, lengthy intros and bye-byes, or worse, when two RJs go 'dialogueing' -- this is particularly very painful as they seem to exclude us listeners and are on their own trip! 'Play the song, idiot' I say. Tiresome is the word for most RJs.

Oh and also, we listeners, would like them to be useful if at all they must be a part of all radio channels -- announce the songs and relevant stuff, weather predictions, traffic jam infos... and perhaps lace it all with some humour. That's it. And please, RJs, keep it brief!

If there is one guy who keeps things brief (and sadly so!!), it is RJ Shankar of Suryan FM. He is popularly called 'Blade' Shankar because of his show that aruthufies people. Full of 'kadis'/poor jokes (PJs) supposedly, and other trivia.

At a time when people are tending towards Eenglees too much, this guy is amazingly so very steadfastly and appealingly local. He happily lacks the IRRITATING put-on English/Tamil accent that makes you want to smack the RJ on the mouth. Stay 'Thamizha Thamizha' I sayyy! Either speak Tamil or English. Don't be a wannabe-English speaking Tamil RJ.

I have wanted to blog about Blade Shankar for so long. He puts a smile on my face many mornings and sometimes even makes me guffaw. Thought: Driving alone and guffawing to oneself is perhaps not the best sign of sanity! But aana,(!), this guy is super-talented. He has a voice that is so Tamil and so local and ...seems to have a real character to match. His quick wit is now legendary.

And what's more, his 'Blade No.1' show from nine to ten a.m. is also interactive. He invites listeners to call in with kadis/PJs in between songs, and has a quick session at the end called 'Kundakka Mandakka' where he gives out a 'Blade password' for the day which could be: 'Blade number, number Blade, Blade One' or some such -- just a little tongue twister he comes up with everyday. Then, he sits back and has fun at the caller's expense. He has some fun/good rules not the least of which is that he encourages humour that is not allowed to hurt people's sentiments.

He also gets some hilarious, equally whacky callers (not me...yet) who enjoy every minute of his ripping. Some call up and chuckle loudly on air instead of saying the Blade password, others will say their full names for effect or tease Shankar directly, and so on. Shankar in turn will promptly say 'upbeatu' which means 'you have lost' or some witty rejoinder. He clearly seems to enjoy outwitting the caller and sometimes, when the caller wins, he is only grudgingly gracious about it and it is all so natural!

The great thing about him is that not only is the show good (wish it could last longer), but the songs he chooses are also great. Popular numbers. Not like some other shows that go all out to dig out songs that are best forgotten!

Some oho-ahas about Shankar:

1. He does great imitations esp. of Sivaji Ganesan and generally, has a voice with 'character'.
2. He does not slurp and slobber over celebrities he interviews on air.
3. His Tamil is great and local, as Tamil should be spoken -- proper Tamil accent and all, and his English is good enough.
4. Even the way he says 'Yippo saahng varudhu, kellunga kellungua, kettukitteyy irunga!' is a bit comical.
5. The way he trips on callers is great fun.
6. Even if he does not get a response, he can come up with quick retorts to silences.
7. His cricket commentary is laced with his trademark humour.
8. The way he answers riddles put forth to him by his callers -- whether or not he knows the answers, is, you listen and see what I mean! He can even come up with a 'jodi riddle' to them in context -- out of the blue!
9. He talks to himself too at times -- quite a riot he is.
10. He is up to date and seems genuinely positive.

This guy is clearly out to entertain.

Whether am radio gaga or not, am gaga about Blade Shankar.

Cheers, Blade Shankar, keep it up!

Kekkaren, kekkaren, kettukittey irukkiren!


Blogeswari said...


I hope RJs read your post, especially the "Ippa traffic enga irukkunnu kaetteengannaaa " (as if we asked them) "Ippo oru super-aana paatu vandukitte irukku" types


Karthee said...

Awesome comments...Really wondered many a times about this real talented guy. Way to go Shankar.

Karthik M