One for the listener

On radio

Annu Kapoorsunday

There’s something distinctly old school about Annu Kapoor. The man and the artiste stands so much for the aesthetics of a bygone era that if you listen to his radio show Suhana Safar, you can almost visualise it in sepia tones. The voice, the pace, the narration — it’s all reminiscent of a simpler time when melody was king and RJs were less obnoxious. The show recently completed five years in June (and two years in Bengaluru), and Annu attributes the success of it all to India’s love for stories.

“Storytelling has always been the most loved format for a show in our country. It is the nostalgia that it creates that forms a connection with the audience and the listeners. While today’s contemporary shows are more youth-inclined, these shows find followers across age groups. The kind of love that callers have showered has been overwhelming. In places where Big FM isn’t there, people log on to YouTube for videos or podcasts of the show,” he beams.

Of anecdotes

For instance, while most shows discuss scoops from showbiz, Annu and his team look for nuggets of lesser-known simple anecdotes.

For instance, did you know that Mohammed Rafi tried every trick in the book to avoid moving to Lahore from Kotla, Punjab, with his father back in 1935? And, that Nargis maintained an autograph book for poets to sign? Or that one of the first Hollywood actors to be invited for a film function in India was Gregory Peck, back in 1954? Much of these little gems come from Annu’s vast experience in the industry.

“Being in the industry for so many years has helped me bring stories to the listeners that I have personally witnessed or known. We also have a team that under my supervision does intense research on the stories and checks facts. Also, it is not just about forming those stories but also giving a detailed backdrop to it and forming an entire script around it. That is the most important aspect,” he shares. 

One of the first faces of reality television in India, Annu acknowledges that despite his work over the years, he is remembered most for his role in Antakshari. “Reality shows on television today have undergone a huge transformation from how it was a decade ago. It also makes sense, given the evolving audience base and the consumption pattern today. So, it feels great to know that Antakshari holds its charm on the audience even to this day where preferences change with the blink of an eye,” he says.

How has the transition from TV, films and the stage to radio worked for him though? “More than the medium, it has always been the work that I have enjoyed doing. The diversity of work excites me and I enjoy every role I have take up ­— be it as an actor, anchor or as an RJ. I am an artiste and I would love to be at a place where I can utilise my skills to engage and entertain the audience in the best way possible,” he signs off.

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