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Beyond Voiceovers …


Over the years, I have honed more skills that lead me to be a better voiceover talent with each passing year.

Writing is second nature to me. I started with copywriting soon after my diploma and I still write. From award winning radio commercials to screenplay for a popular TV show, I have had the privilege to conceive and co-write a couple of animation series with some of the best minds in the industry.

My ability to write gave me the command on language

To have command on good voice acting, it is important to be an actor first. I have always been keen about acting since I was a young boy. I have won elocutions and done stage plays and even directed a few right upto my college days.

Drama and elocution gave me the ability to modulate my voice and improve my range

Music improves your sense of timing. My love for it started with keyboard lessons in my boyhood and grew with the beat of the tabla but it peaked when I joined a band as a drummer, taught myself the guitar and at present I am youtubing my way to learning the flute.

Learning and playing music as a hobby armed me with the know-how of software and mixing.

My story


cont…

Sometime in 2002, I took a left turn while I was on the road to my ultimate destination of becoming a computer engineer. While I studied engineering for a couple of years, I noticed something was completely wrong about becoming an engineer (no offence to engineers). I just could not see myself typing out endless code or repairing desktop CD trays for senior citizens… So, I dropped out of engineering.

Being a science student, I was arrogant enough to think I could get a degree in commerce, blindfolded.  I did finish my bachelors in commerce from Sydenham College in Mumbai; albeit, with a little more effort than I initially thought it required. Even so, the prospect of becoming a banker or a finance expert made me feel dead inside (again, no offence to people in banking and finance). Nope! It was time to relook at things, again!

A few experiments later, I figured I was leaning towards writing and I mostly enjoyed the “creative process”. Back then, I had not even heard that term. To channel my energies and to gain perspective, I joined the advertising and marketing diploma course at St. Xavier’s Institute of Communications: the crème de la crème of mass-comm institutes.

These 9 months changed my life. While all of my educational endeavours preceding this course, showed me what I am not meant to be, this one showed me what I was destined to be: a “creative guy!”

Towards the end of that course, we had to submit a group project to showcase what we had learnt. One of the modules was, RADIO and that is where I found my passion and my career guru, all at once. On a walk down the VT station road with him one evening, I asked him if I could join the radio station he was working at. He asked me, “why do you think you want to do radio? The rest of your classmates are all vying for a job in an ad agency. Why radio?” I believe my exact reply was, “because, I think, I am BORN to do radio!”

The next thing I remember after Utkarsh Naithani’s raised brows and wide eyes searching for the truth in my assertion, was his phone call the next day, asking me if I was interested in taking up the internship spot at his station. I did not even wait for him to finish his statement before I asked him, “where’s the office at, sir?”

When I did take it up, one of my first assignments was creating a character for a client. I won’t go into details about who the client was and what the character was but what followed was another epiphany.

Get this… I am a week into my job. I deliver this character for a client and people loved it. So far so good… but the next thing, I was asked to go on air, LIVE, on the MORNING SHOW during the PEAK DRIVE TIME at 9 a.m. with barely a couple of bullet points for a script, with 2 of the hottest RJ’s in the city of Mumbai. And I had to play the character that I had developed, LIVE! I did it! And I fell in love with the mic from that very day.

Another week and I was auditioning for the job of an RJ. I failed that test quite hard but I was approved as the third most heard voice on the radio – the guy who sells stuff in the ad breaks – a radio voiceover!

I moved from station to station as a copywriter for sales and promo producer for the programming department but I never quit voicing. I moved to television promotions and even then, I kept voicing my own spots, ads, promos and imaging. I polished myself with every terrible voiceover and grew better and better with each day behind the mic.

Then, finally, I decided to clear my life of all the other clutter of writing, producing, scripting and so on. I decided to take up voiceovers as my mainstay and quit my job to carve my own path in the world of voiceovers.

When I do look back at my life’s decisions, I come a full circle back to my school days when I used to win elocution competitions and poem recitals all the time. I am recently told by my parents that my teachers had encouraged them to let me do something with my “speaking skills”.

There is not a day that passes by without me sending out my thanks to my teacher, Mr. Ratan Batliwala, who gave me the tools to enhance my vocal chords and improve my range and modulation. I constantly remember my mentor, Mr. Utkarsh Naithani, who put his trust in me and introduced me to the world of radio and gave me my first job. Ravi Iyer, Gaurav Sharma, Amar Tidke, Veera Mascarenhas, Mayur Chikramane, Sumanto Ray and countless other forces that pushed me to perform and be the artist, nay, the person that I am today.

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