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    Actor and former VJ Cyrus Sahukar began his career with radio when he was in his early teens and things came full circle when he played an RJ in Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s cult film Rang De Basanti. “I had just come back from an all-night shoot of Simi Girbaal (an MTV spoof) and was tired and busted. It was a key dramatic moment when the cast takes over the AIR studio and I was to act goofy and weird to lighten the tension. In the middle of the madness when a shot has been fired and everyone is running for their life, I realised just how sharp Aamir Khan is. He saw someone running with a sitar and shouted, ‘CUT!’ And he said, “Who runs for their life with a seven foot long sitar when a gun has been fired? Overacting mat keejiye!”

    Cyrus laughs, “I played this boy who is in Delhi parlance, a jugaadu, who borrows money, is selfish to the core and even in a moment of righteous symbolism, is worrying about losing his job!”

    But even though radio is no longer his full-time job, he loves it to bits and says, “I cannot not love radio and it is my favourite medium because it has a personal quality, a one-on-one intimacy. And anyone can afford a radio. I used to be hooked to Aakash Vani as a child and now thanks to the Internet, I can listen to just about any radio station in the world and I often do. I am a big fan of radio plays, talk radio and audio books where everything, is not so… overdone, you know?”

    Telling us about the big change on the cards with the much-awaited phase three of FM radio in India, Cyrus says it might still be a while. He adds, “The taxes levied on radio stations are steep in India. That aspect coupled with music rights and the business constraints, leaves programmers with no choice other than to play commercial music. I miss the variety. I miss hearing a bit of rock and alternative music but the programmers have not changed, it is the nature of the business that has.”

    He continues, “Radio is hugely competitive now and everyday 900 people get in the fray to land one job and RJs don’t have a choice to play anything other than what is there.” For now, there is an application on his phone that connects him to the best music from across the world. And there is the hope that, “Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra will not always give me broke guys to play and someday I will play, in his film, a millionaire descending stylishly from a helicopter!”
    Reema Moudgil

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