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An Interview with TV anchor Roshan Abbas

 
"Good avenues for formal training in TV anchoring do not exist in our country"
Posted on 23 May 2002

Roshan Abbas is one of the more popular hosts seen on the small screen today. Roshan first shot into fame as anchor of Public Demand, one of the few countdowns on TV to run for four years, and went on to present shows like Born Lucky, El look and Fair Play for various TV channels.

He also won the best TV Game Show Host award for
Family Fortunes on Star Plus and to his credit the hosting of the Tri Nation cricket series for Sony TV in Singapore. His new brainchild Encompass Productions, aims to become a one stop all pervasive media house. He has also floated a new initiative - workshops for aspiring anchors who want to make it big in the world of television.

In an interview with indiantelevision.com correspondent Amar, Abbas speaks of his evolution as an anchor and his plans for the future.

Excerpts:
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How did you start off as an anchor?
I've been performing in stage shows in school since I was four. Later, while I was doing my Mass Communications from Jamia Milia Islamia, Usha Albuquerque offered me the anchor's job on a career show called Hum Honge Kamyaab. This came out of the blue as I was not planning on getting into a career in anchoring. But after Hum Honge Kamyaab, I got a lot of other offers as an anchor and there's been no looking back since.

What is required of an effective anchor?
An effective anchor needs to be quick witted, observant and adaptable to unforeseen situations.

Which are the areas one needs to work on constantly to improve as an anchor?
One needs to be abreast of what's happening around, to be in sync with the latest fashion accessories and the prevailing dressing trends. Besides, one should work on his/her wit. Basically, one needs to imbibe and absorb a lot more than what one normally does.

"An effective anchor needs to be quick witted, observant and adaptable to unforeseen situations"

Do you like to work with a ready script?
No, I've never done that. All my performances have been impromptu.

What are the factors you take into consideration before taking up a new assignment?
I look at two factors. One, how much does an assignment appeal to me and can offer me in terms of creative satisfaction. The second factor is obviously the money it gets me.

Does TV anchoring pay well?
It depends. It pays me very well but I can't be sure of all other anchors. Actually, a lot depends on your popularity.

Who are your favourite TV anchors?
Jaaved Jafferey, Shekhar Suman, Cyrus Broacha and last but not the least, Amitabh Bachchan.

What are the stylistic elements you've imbibed from them?
From Jaaved Jafferey, I've learnt a certain amount of mimicry. In Cyrus, I admire the ability to be as natural and effortless as one can be. I admire Shekhar Suman for the way he has maintained himself. One can't say whether he is in his early forties or the late twenties. I admire Amitabh Bachchan for the modesty, dignity and grace with which he carries himself.

Who are your favourite co-anchors? Have you ever co-anchored without a script?
I have enjoyed anchoring Public Demand with a girl called Kahkasha who used to be very sparkling. Ritu, who later went on to become Mahima Chaudhary, is one of my other favourite co-anchors. Yes, I have co-anchored without a script. That's not a problem. Once you know the content and once you relate well with your co-anchor, that's no big deal.

How has the Mass Communications course helped you in anchoring?
Well, it hasn't directly helped me in my anchoring but then being a TV anchor, knowing the camera angles and having an idea of when a break is going to be called, obviously facilitates a better performance.

What is the idea behind the creation of Encompass Production?
I have found most media houses to be specialists in either events, production or else the creatives. 'Encompass', as the name suggests, aspires to take up all these activities simultaneously and become a one-stop all-pervasive media house. So far, we have concentrated more on events but we are now producing two TV serials and a movie, which I will be directing.

What training do you recommend for aspiring TV anchors?
Well, primarily, I feel they should be well-read, more knowledgeable and have a more rounded worldview. Besides, one needs to work on his/her looks because today looks definitely matter. It is unfortunate that good avenues for formal training in TV anchoring do not exist in our country. I'm trying to do my bit on this front through a series of workshops. Besides, nobody can deny that luck plays a crucial part in your success or failure over here.

Where do you see Encompass Productions ten years down the line?
Having evolved as one of the biggest media conglomerates in the country.

Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?
Personally, I'm getting into film direction because that is what I'm trained in. Fortunately or unfortunately, the easy money that TV anchoring gave me tied me to it for far too long. But now, I'm fully charged to give film direction a shot. Ten years down the line, I see myself being a successful director of movies.

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