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Veejaying: Exciting profession for young uns

For a growing number of cool youth, veejaying on television is becoming a legit career offering fun, fame, and fortune. Moreover it opens doors to other glamorous assignments
The television debut of music channels (MTV, Channel V, Zee Music, B4U, VH1 etc) not only ushered in a new genre of entertainment for generation next, it also created a new breed of stars — veejays. For a growing number of cool youth, veejaying is becoming a legit career which offers fun, fame, and fortune. Moreover it opens doors to other glamorous jobs such as anchoring live shows, product endorsements, radio jockeying, deejaying, and acting. Little wonder the MTV and Channel V annual veejay talent hunts attract thousands of applications from youth (aged 18–28) across the country.

MTV (an abbreviation of Music Television) made its Indian debut with high-profile veejays Sophiya Haque and Danny presenting their first western music telecasts, spawning the MTV generation. Since then the number of MTV clones has multiplied and diversified into over a dozen multilingual music telecasts anchored by livewire video jockeys who have built up huge fan clubs — and bank accounts — countrywide.

Music channels are always on the lookout for fresh talent for which auditions are held round the year. Currently formal study programmes for training veejays are conspicuous by their absence. In the circumstances successful veejays advise self-grooming, constant body language, and diction improvement and grabbing every opportunity to emcee college and local music and entertainment events to banish stage fright. Try your hand at radio jockeying if you get a chance and when youre good, ready and able, approach a channel with your portfolio to sign up for an audition.

SENSE OF HUMOUR. A hip and exciting profession for the young uns, veejaying involves anchoring music shows, interacting with live audiences, and interviewing pop stars, musicians etc, which requires the gift of the gab apart from screen presence. Ad libbing, a sense of humour, quick thinking, love of music, and knowledge of regional languages are essentials of this job. Pay packages are good and starting offers range anywhere between Rs.30,000–50,000 per month. And theres no limit to what you can earn if you can improve channel ratings. Moreover there are the perks that come with the job like public adulation, travel (often to exotic locales), and meeting celebrities.

Theres hot competition in veejaying but theres also plenty of scope for beginners. Those with confidence, style, talent, and attitude can make it big and earn hefty packages as channels are always on the hunt for VJs,” says dashing Mayank Anand (25), an anchor- turned actor with an impressive curriculum vitae.

An alumnus of Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, and Knox College, Galesburg, USA, from where he graduated in English writing, theatre performance, and direction in 2002, Anand began his career as a struggling actor” who also dabbled in modelling, copywriting, playwriting, and short-story writing in Chicago. In 2004, he returned to India to renew his visa to register for a film-making course in the US. But friends and family persuaded him to give Mumbai a shot.

I got my first break in Star Ones weekly soap titled Hotel Kingston which went off the air in December 2005. Following bit roles in Star Plus Hello Dollie, a school-based daily show which ran for a whole year, and several other television serials, my big break came when I signed up with Zee Music as an anchor for a weekend music show Scene a Song. Following this and several other roles as a veejay, I was signed up as an actor for Cinevistaas serial Dill Mill Gayye,” recalls Anand.

According to him veejaying is all about music, fun, and youth culture. The career span is short, so veejaying should start at an early age because this is a glamour-based profession, and one can only exploit it to its maximum till one looks good on screen”. Therefore most VJs simultaneously plan for alternatives. A successful veejay can become a household name and land product endorsement contracts. Moreover those with thespian talent can bag roles both on the small and big screen,” he says.

Speaking for himself, Anand is clear that he enjoyed every moment of veejaying although it wasnt a long period. My preference was for serious acting and now I would like to make it as film-maker. Ive faced the arclights from childhood, acting every year in school plays,” he says.

Anand has drawn up ambitious plans and is negotiating new television entertainment shows with production houses and planning feature films as well. Right now Im working on a script for a short film in English. Im happy before and behind the camera as long as Im entertaining people,” he says.

With Indias films and television industry coming of age, and his strong scholastic background, Anand has been the right man in the right industry at the right time.

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