My audience is my source of energy and that's amazing
Your inspirations are around you, you just have to be a good observer.
You have seen him as a cool contestant and finalist in "Bigg Boss (season 8)", he is hosting a dance show "Big Memsaab" on Big Magic. He has appeared in "Comedy Nights Bachao" in colors and hosted red carpet for the famous Film Fare awards. Soon, you will see him in his upcoming movie "He Man". We are talking about famous radio jockey, voice of Bhabhis of India, a humble soul Mr. Pritam Singh.
Our team had a long chat with Mr. Singh and here are some snippets for you,
Please tell us about your background?
I belong to a Punjabi family from Nagpur, Maharashtra. There, my father has a bar and restaurant business. Like a typical Punjabi businessman father, he also wanted me to join his business but I was not interested in that. From my school days, I always wanted to do something in the entertainment world. I used to entertain my friends at school, Whenever the teacher was not in the class.
At that time, I did not know what I was doing, can also be a career. One thing was very sure that I always wanted to continue this. In fact, with the time passing this desire to be an actor was also growing. Even in my father's bar, I used to behave like an actor while making the drinks for customers. As I said, I did not know if this can be a profession of acting or anything else. Though, I was determined in my mind that I had to be an actor. When I told my father about pursuing my career in this field, he first reacted with a pushback but then he allowed me to try my luck.
So how this acting thing started?
In 1999 I came to Mumbai. I wanted to join Film and Television Institue of India (FTII) but since I was not a graduate by that time so I ended joining Kishor Namit Acting Insitute. I did a six-month course from there. It was a great experience in that institute to learn about acting which I did not know before. Soon after this, I started working with Magnasound as an assistant director. Those were the days when so many music videos were made. There I did a lot of work behind the camera. Meanwhile, I got my first big break for a movie called "Escape from Taliban" with Manisha Koirala. Unfortunately, the movie got delayed and did not perform well on Box Office, hence I did not get recognization and my career did not take off. Then the real struggle started with going to producers and directors. I also got another movie directed by Mr. Mani Shankar ( Director of Tango Charlie) naming Mukhabir but that also did not work well for me.
So when did you decide to work on radio?
It was not planned. As I was not getting good work in acting, I started auditioning for radio. I did a radio audition for Radio Mirchi in Mumbai. They liked me and offered to work for their radio stations in either Pune or Nagpur. Since Nagpur was my native, I chose that. Hence I entered in radio. In Nagpur, I worked in radio for four years. It was a great learning experience and I worked a lot there. In 2008, I got an opportunity to work in Red FM radio station in Mumbai. I returned to Mumbai. Returning to Mumbai for radio was not easy. Here we had already big names in radio like Jeeturaaj, Malishka, and Mantra. The radio team gave me slot of late night in the beginning (after midnight) and I am telling you it was no fun. It was kind of a graveyard for me. Now I had to really prove myself and show my presence.
Meanwhile, Mantra who was hosting a number one show on a prime slot had to leave for 3 months. The radio team asked me to fill the spot. However, they all were very concerned about me if I could be able to sustain the show's popularity. Even I was a little nervous. Clearly, it was a gamble. But I tried my best and the show remained on top. That proved to the radio team that I can handle prime slots as well. It also encouraged me a lot. Then "Bhabhi ka show" happened and it changed everything. I got work in Bigg Boss 8, I hosted award functions and many more things.
How did the "Bhabhi ka show" happen?
After seeing my work and potential the radio team tried to do experiments with me. I was given a noon slot and soon after that, I was set for morning slot. During this time I worked in a TV show called "Baazi Mehmaan Nawazi Ki" and also few more things like that. Unfortunately all these shows were not that successful. It was the time when I had this pressure to sustain myself.
Meanwhile, I got this idea to make a show for housewives. There were already shows for housewives but I thought to make it different. My difference factor was "A man will talk to these housewives about the things which usually they don't expect. Like there make-up, dressing, life, tensions etc". I also gave it a touch of "Devar Bhabhi" thing. Again, it was a big risk. It could go either way. I made a pilot by the name of "11 se 2, bhabhi ka show". The first day the show went air, we got a lot of positive reviews and I was thrilled with the response. The rest is history.
How did you prepare for this show for daily episodes ?
Actually, I did not do anything. It grew eventually with the participations of women. Housewives work a lot throughout the day. They do cooking, cleaning, raising the kids and so many things at the home. Unfortunately, it's considered as a thankless job. I just happen to be a medium to give them some time and space for themselves. In fact I am thankful to all of them for making the show such a huge hit.
Radio and TV, you have done both. What's more challenging?
Every medium is equally challenging nowadays. There is a big competition around you in every field. But, I would say in radio you have to be spontaneous. You are your own technician and editor in radio. You have to program and edit your content in real time with the computer. It was very difficult in the begining.
TV has also changed a lot. Now when I am doing TV shows, I am learning new things every day. Since the competition is tough, people do compare you with hosts like Manish Paul. Learning is a continuous process.
How do you keep yourself updated with the content and humor?
You know, it's not that tough. All you have to observe around you. You can find enough material, that's what I do. Also, you need to be confident to present the content. A few years back I read the book written by Mr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam "Wings of Fire". That book inspired me a lot to fight against the odds.
We have so many medium now- TV, Radio, the Internet but still the content is not that good or the quality content is very less, what do you think about that.
It's we the content provider who are not thinking much about the content. A good content needs time to build. Today we are in TRP race that is producing more than enough content but with less quality.
You see, there has to be a soul in the content. If you repeat the same thing again and again, you may get success in your own numbers but eventually it fails. For example- Aditya Chopra made Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. The movie was a blockbuster because it had not only the content but a soul in the content. But, he could not repeat the same thing in "Befikre". The content might be different, but you have to think about the originality and soul. Same with the web series on Internet. If you have to repeat the success, you can not repeat the content always.
Also, until you understand the emotion and feeling of the subject and content, you can not produce the quality. Many films in India are made keeping big star cast and numbers in mind. In fact, they make half of the films in the meeting room. That completely changes the focus. In this, you focus more on numbers, ratings, and TRP.
We have mostly seen you in the comic zone, is it your favorite?
I am an actor and I always look for the good role. Now things have changed a lot. The industry is mature enough where you can see actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui are doing the lead role. So, it's all depend on content and the role. However, personally I would love to do negative shades. I think this is one thing which I can do better and I hope people will like it.
What keeps you motivated to be in this industry.
It's one simple answer - public, my audience, and fans. When you see people are praising you, they love your work that feels amazing. It gives you enough source of energy to keep it moving.
One, last thing. What is your favorite pastime?
I love spending time with my family, playing with my kids. I do enough workout to be fit, that is also very important for everyone.