Friday, March 23, 2007

'Shesham Screenil'

To be interviewed by a TV channel for one of their woman based programs. "By God, are they so desperate!!" was the uniform reaction from friends and family. With no claim to fame in any form, how could I blame them.

Susan, my friend and colleague had asked me a few months back about this. Her sister, a very successful entrepreneur and one of the well-know personalities in Cochin knew this producer. She herself has and keeps on appearing in similar programs. My first reaction was ‘why not’. For a teenager who grew up on Prannoy Roy, his “World This Week’ and election coverage, being a microphone wielding journalist was one of my secret dreams. Needless to say, the dream got lost somewhere along the way. Well, if I can be on the other side of the microphone, so be it.

Months went by and then this phone call. “Hello I am ….. This is regarding a TV interview”. Oh, ok, better late than never, I told myself. Then the next shot “Madam, I’ll call you tomorrow. By then, can you have a CV of yours ready and about 20 questions which we can ask you?”
“You are a CA, right? Something relating to your profession, how it affects you as a woman etc.”

For a few minutes, I didn’t know what to say. Never thought interviewees had to provide the script too. Then light dawned. Who am I, that a total stranger would know what to ask me about myself? He needed someone to fill in his program, someone had given him a lead, and the closet narcissist that I am, had taken it up without any second thoughts. Served me right.

Too lazy to spend time on the phone talking about myself, I offered to send something through mail. “But madam, I don’t have a mail id. I’ll create one and then send you the details”. A media person without an email address?!! Well, it takes all kinds, I guess.

Weeks passed and another call. “Madam, is the CV ready?” How could I say “Not really”. So, the next best answer “Yes, sort of. I’ll mail it to you.”
“But ma’m, I still don’t have an ID, so can you just summarize your life over phone?”
A summary of my professional CV and some feminine jargon, he was satisfied. The date and venue was fixed.

I was having second and third thoughts everyday. Turned to my closest friend, confidante and the one most trusted to give a frank and honest opinion about anything. Manu said, “ Go ahead, what do you have to lose?” and added in his inimitable style “kai vittu pokumo?"

Being at home for more than two months, all my hennaed gray hairs had turned back into their original colors. So off I went for a complete refurbishing not for once forgetting the old adage “kaakka kulichaal kokkaakumo”. Still, even an once of extra confidence is worth it. The day dawned, turned into noon and there I was at the Infopark cafeteria waiting for the camera and the crew. Half an hour after the scheduled time, the producer and his team turned up. A young girl, with a very familiar face, all painted up, walks up, smiles and starts talking to me.

It is obvious that the man is not happy with the ‘location’. “No choice”, I have to say. Office is out of bounds, thanks to BS 7799, client confidentiality and the usual stuff like that. To add to the discontent is the fact they cannot connect they high voltage equipment to the available power points.

We start in natural settings in even more natural lightings, what a befitting background for a natural beauty!! First question from the girl “Everyone has a preconceived notion that CA is a very difficult course. What do you say about that?”
Tongue in cheek I reply, “Of course it is difficult. But it is not impossible for those who study systematically and religiously. You have to be really focused”. Like one of my friends say,” You can afford to say whatever you want once you have cleared it. The one question no one should ask is how long it took you”

To be honest, it was a very informal session and I didn’t realize an hour was over. And I don’t remember much of what she asked or what I replied. The funniest part came after the session was over. The girl asked the cameraman “ Reactions?” Then she started making faces at the camera, literally. Nods, ‘aha’s with an enlightened look on her face, amused laughter, all the reactions we see on an interviewer’s face on TV. Little do we know how artificial all the natural looking stuff are on celluloid. I burst out laughing when she told me I have to do the same. But she did a good job of it, asking me some more silly questions to get the required reactions.

They said they’ll let me know when it is to be telecast. As they say in the old movie notices, “Shesham Screenil” , that is if they decide to show it.


  1. Sreedeep ChennamangalamTuesday, 27 March, 2007

    Good one, Bindu. May be u should send this to those people who interviewed you :)

    I can't believe the fact that the person who called you did not have an email ID. Being the son of a journalist, I know how important an email ID is for a TV journalist.

    You are doing an excellent job of writing. Do keep writing. And publish that kerala syndrome in a newspaper.

  2. Ente daivame! Neril kaanunnavareyokke boradippichu mathiyaavanjittu, dhe ee Bindu Teeveekkoodem manushyare boradippikkaan pokunney....

    Keep up the good work. Kerala Syndrome was insightful. Time someone talked about the other side of the coin.


  3. Interesting and nicely written account...And your sense of humor made it more enjoyable read. Was horrified to know what actually happens during an interview. But the last part--reactions--was really hilarious...

  4. they actually did show it on TV and it wasn't too bad either!!!

  5. "The girl asked the cameraman “ Reactions?” Then she started making faces at the camera, literally. Nods, ‘aha’s with an enlightened look on her face, amused laughter, all the reactions we see on an interviewer’s face on TV. Little do we know how artificial all the natural looking stuff are on celluloid. "

    my good gaad... i didnt knew about it :D

    so actualy an interview is also an acting :D

  6. All the natural looking stuff or television in really artifical. Not only interviews but most of the stuff that is shown in any media is planted :) or has that artificial shade to it. Once you give your second and third interviews , you become accustomed to it . Which was the channel and which was the programme ?

  7. @nariyal chutney - 'sakhi' on amrita tv

  8. Too funny Bindu but glad in the end it turned out well. Who knew one had to be an actress too :)