Be it Rannvijay in London Dreams, or Cyrus Broacha in Fruit N’ Nut, audiences love to see their beloved VJs on the screen. Purab Kohli, a former Channel V VJ started his acting career with TV serial Hip Hip Hurray in 1999.
“I had never planned anything. Acting just meant extra money for me over the weekend.” But as he was learning to act, he auditioned for Channel V, and got selected. “I am an outdoor person basically. I hate being in studios and VJing paid me a lot.” But he doesn’t really consider himself as a VJ. “I did a lot more of anchoring than VJing,” he avers.
After a few years, Purab got an offer, which he thought was for a commercial. “But they told me I am being considered for a role in the film Supari.” Though that film never took off, Purab went on to do critically-acclaimed roles in hits like Awaarapan, My Brother Nikhil and Rock On.
Does he feel VJing gives one an easy break into cinema? “It actually works against you as people are used to seeing you being yourself on television.” However, Purab feels it’s a natural progression.
“It gets very boring otherwise. Plus, the fame and love you get from people is amazing.”
Luke Kenny was a former Channel V VJ as well. On the trend of VJs turning actors, he says, “It’s been happening for sometime now.” But he feels VJs are an “extinct species”.
“Like a dodo,” he laughs. “Video jockeying is basically announcing one video after the other with a bit of trivia in between. The same goes for radio and disc jockeys also. But unfortunately, there are no VJs anymore as most of them are hosting reality shows.”
He says, “Acting is just another outlet for people to explore creative talent that’s why people jump to acting. It’s more of an exposure than an easy break. I started as a VJ and then went on to be a programming head. I did it for 13 years and quit it as it was monotonous to do same thing over and over again.” He adds, “Plus there were many channels coming up so I didn’t want to be just another face.”
Shenaz Treasurywala was one of the most popular VJs on MTV before she started acting in movies. After doing a blockbuster opposite Shahid Kapoor, Ishq Vishq, she was absent from the screen for a long time. But she was back with a bang recently with Radio opposite Himesh Reshammiya. However, Shenaz says, “I was first an actor, then a VJ. I got picked up as a VJ after some people saw me acting in college plays and in commercials.” Ask her on the transition from VJing to acting, and she says, “It’s not a big deal. VJing is something you do when you are still in college. You can’t be a VJ all your life but you can be an actor. Good actors make good VJs.”