Participants are pre-decided, they practise their lives off, come to the venue fully prepared, some even discuss a few things with the judges, and so on. At best one can say that such shows are Live shows, even that is probably not correct, as they are all pre-recorded. Reality is when things happen spontaneously, when no one announces them, least of all judges them. I was tempted to read the blog by Chetan Bhagat.
Having entered television very young, DD has grown to become a household name today in Tamil Nadu. From sharing that she was ten when she hosted her first programme to having jitters before every show even today, the anchor and actor opens up to TNM in this interview over a cup of tea.
You stared your career pretty young. Tell us about the early days. I started anchoring with Vijay TV when I was in 9th standard. The makers wanted an adolescent anchor, so I auditioned. I also remember going to Hyderabad for a Filmfare curtain raiser when I was in the 12th standard. Red carpets and curtain raisers are pretty common now but those were the times when nobody knew how to do it.
We had to figure it out as a team. I had actually gone to the studio to meet my sister who was hosting shows for Sun TV and they wanted a kid to host the show. It was a quiz programme and I had to ask the questions.
But I remember the show was very taxing for me as a kid. I had to memorise lines and my director used to write the lines in Tamil very fast. I don't know if Sun TV will have those videos but I did about 25 episodes for that show.
I haven't done many serials, I just did two.
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All the actors were very experienced and the roles were all pretty serious, too. That was also the time when we had live recordings.
I remember memorising huge lines and we rarely went for dubbing. So this one time when we had to dub, I remember Balachander Sir was also present and when I finished, he came up to me and said 'Very good Very Good' - seven times. But eventually, I had to give up doing TV serials because I also wanted to concentrate on my studies.
From there you went to reality TV? That's when everyone had a nice changeover in TV.
But previously, before this, I was in radio for a short while. But with TV, it has been a great experience for me. I did everything So it is very sentimental for me in that sense. You were a contestant yourself in one of the shows, weren't you? I love dancing.
Dancing is my way of venting out. With just orange juice, I could keep dancing all night. Having started that young, you were balancing studies and TV shows.
How did you manage? My teachers in school were very understanding. It was also the time when I had lost my father so I took pretty much everything that came my way. I was constantly working very hard and trying to catch up with studies. I also gave a lot of importance to my studies.
I did my masters and M. So when I was teaching, I briefly took a break. I never went overseas because I was a young teacher and I was very invested in my job.
Your sister is also an anchor. Has she influenced your style? Where do you take your inspirations from? I grew up watching my sister host shows. Even today, she gives me lines. I take inspirations from everywhere and I also try to keep it real.
They invite you to their sofa. Were you always an outgoing person as a child? I wouldn't call myself an extrovert. Do you ever feel nervous before an interview or a show?
I always get jitters before hosting any show. How do you handle such attention and comments as a woman? Mine was not overnight stardom. It was very gradual, so I was able to get accustomed to the attention I received in public spaces. Most times, I only look at the positive things people have to say to me.
The negative comments that you get are all from social media. With about two million followers, there are probably like 20 negative comments. But why give them importance? I wouldn't shut myself up in a room just because 20 people have bad things to talk about me.
Having entered the media world very young, what do you think about movements like 'Me Too' and forums like the Women in Cinema Collective WCC that has been started in Malayalam cinema?
Until today, I've remained a teetotaler.