Exclusive: In Conversation With The ‘Compere Beyond Compare’ – Siddharth Kannan

Ace TV and Radio host Siddharth Kannan popularly known as Sid K is considered as one of the Pioneers and Trendsetters in FM radio who started his career at a very  young age with Times FM now known as Radio Mirchi. From being the youngest RJ on FM radio to receiving a number of awards including the recent Best Anchor (Gold) Award at the EEMA Spotlight Awards 2017, Sid K has come a long way. The ‘Compere beyond Compare’ Sid K truly re-defines ‘anchoring’ with his infectious energy which is truly path breaking!

Having said all that what describes him the best, we interacted with him to find out more about his fascinating journey and know more about this power house of Talent!

You started your career at a young age. Tell us a bit about your journey in this industry?

I started at a very young age of 14. I had just finished my class 10th and come to Mumbai from Lucknow and I was this very cranky child who didn’t wanted to come to Mumbai from Lucknow. There, I was the captain of my school, cricket and hockey team. So I used to get a lot of attention in Lucknow and I was anxious about going to Bombay as I feared that no one is going to recognize me and I would not get that attention. So I refused to come, although my brother Rishi K was a popular Radio Jockey in Delhi and he had joined two months before I joined. So there we recorded a demo cassette at home on a normal music system with a lot of disturbance in the background and we gave it to the people of Times FM also known as Radio Mirchi these days and they loved my cassette and offered me a Radio show. What worked in my favor was because I was 14 years old the only thing I wanted was to impress girls.  So I was like I will enter college, girls will think I am a stud and I will impress them. So I was not bothered about money or what people think about me. I was very fearless in my approach and I was very free flowing. During that time, everyone used to imitate Ameen Sahani but I was the guy who brought in a very free flow style of talking which I would like to credit myself for as it worked in my favor.

You have been named in the Limca Book of Records for being the Youngest Radio Jockey. What inspired you to become a RJ?

My parents were from the corporate world. My parents were way ahead of their times. So I was born in Delhi, stayed 7 years in Calcutta, 7 years in Lucknow then moved to Mumbai. So I am like the map of India and also I am a Tamilian. So what happened was my parents even during my school days used to tell me it’s okay if you don’t come first, swim, play tennis, cricket, do debates and elocutions. He used to write my debates and he used to make me say it to him. He used to guide me with pronunciations how to say it and stuff like that. I remember one day I was studying for a Hindi exam when my father came and asked me what I am studying and I said there is an exam tomorrow and he asked me how long you have been studying for and I said I have been studying for four hours. He said you have studied enough, come let’s play tennis together and I was like dad tomorrow is the exam. He said its okay doesn’t matter. I don’t want you to top but you need to have balance of all. You need to play, you need to have fun. I was very inspired by my father, my mother and of course my brother Rishi K as well because I came from a family which was beyond just education. It was about living life to the fullest. So I was good at debates and elocution. So I guess I came to know I was a good talker and that helped me to get on to the entertainment business.

Which has been your most memorable moment on the show – Santa Banta Newz Unlimited?

Before this show, Zoom was a lifestyle channel. Baba Sehgal and I had an audio studio where I was doing a voice over. So one day we decided to record a Radio link together. And we recorded a five minute radio capsule which sounded great. So I went to Mr. Sunil Sahjwani who was also the head of Times FM and Zoom.  After listening to our recording, he decided to get us a daily one hour prerecorded show on Radio Mirchi. But when he played it to the management of Benetton Goldman Group, they decided to put us on Zoom as we would be a riot on TV. Suddenly a show which was made for radio was put on TV and then we were made to audition without any script. After the audition we got a standing ovation in the Zoom studio and everybody started applauding us and it was made into a TV show.

The USP of the show was, I have known Baba Sehgal for years. We both had mad energy. Baba and I we both are eccentric in our own ways. Sometimes that can be a back clash but I felt like he was my wife or my girlfriend whom I have known for years. So then whenever I would say anything he would pick up and take it there. And that show ran for three years. It smashed ratings all across. And what worked again was two people who were very raw, real, and natural. I remember in those days a budding star had come for an interview and he had a lot of attitude. The best part about Baba and me was that we used to make fun of ourselves and each other. When he came he said I want to say this and that, you don’t ask me this. And both of us were like, brother nobody tells us what to ask and we went on a riot. We started pulling his leg and that guy was almost in tears. We weren’t wicked to him. But because he wanted to rehearse everything, it just went out of his league. He cried, we almost had to cancel our shoot and then we told him, listen it’s not going to work like this. If you want to do this interview do it or don’t, it doesn’t matter. So then he took some time we hugged him, made him feel good. I told him imagine Baba and I are your best friends and we are sitting in a college canteen. Will you tell a best friend to ask you certain questions only? No right? After that interview got over he gave an article to one of the biggest publications saying it was the best interview ever and stuff like that. So, yes we have also made people cry. (Laughs) But that was in those days.

From being RJ to anchoring TV shows and Live Events. How did you manage to balance it all?

So currently I am hosting two shows Super Fight League and Super Boxing League on Sony ESPN. Then I have a show on Colors Infinity Devils Circuit Challenge where corporate icons are made to face hurdles. Then I have a chat show on Ishq104.8 FM called Ishq khulke which is probably the most unleashed chat show on radio. Then I have my own You Tube platform where I do a lot of A list interviews and also my social media platform is huge. So what happens is everything is interlinked. When I am hosting an event it’s about talking being naughty and quirky that’s what I do on TV, Radio and YouTube. It’s as simple as that. The other thing is that I live breathe, eat, and sleep my work. I have been doing this for so many years, so for me every day is like a picnic. Till date I don’t feel like I am going for work and every day of my life is my first and last day at work. First day because it makes me feel like a student where I am excited and have butterflies in my stomach. Last day because it always gives you an emotional connect to what you do. Because you know it’s your last day and you get emotional. Emotional connect with the excitement of a student makes me what I am.

Tell us about the best corporate events that you have been a part of so far?

I host a lot of corporate events but at the end of the day I am also very picky and choosy about what I do. I value myself as an artist. I value the content that I create. A lot of people do a lot of work. I do the right kind of work. I am not a factory. I don’t want to be seen on 25 events in a month I would rather do six great events where the client will come and says he is not an anchor, he is an act by himself. So I treat myself as an act by myself. Because I come up with interactive gags, I give inputs to the scripts. I do lot of value adds in the events so when a client sees me on stage he should say he is not just an anchor, he is a complete contribution to an event by himself.

Talking about the event there are a lot of events that are close to my heart but I love doing the Auto Expo for Hero because there we have stunts by bikers and what happens is sometimes I climb on top of the bikes and the stunt mans are in front and I am hosting this show on top of the bike and I jump into the crowd, interact with them that keeps my energy pumping. Here I am not only hosting an interactive show with the audience but I also got stunt men. And I don’t want the audience to say, you know what the stunt men where more energetic than Siddhath Kannan. So what happens is for me, I want to beat the stunt men in energy and power. This kind of shows great that actually man is competing with a machine. I m competing with bikers kind of shows makes me live on the edge and the kind of people that come to an Auto Expo are from the grass root level to the highest level. So you get into different kinds of people and in seven days you are hosting close to thirty five lots. Everyday there are five slots of stunts takes place. So I have approximately 30- 40 slots in seven days. Yet I don’t feel tired and I am pumped up.

Your favorite celebrity interview till date?

Shah Rukh Khan! Shah Rukh is a guy who can talk to any person of any age and make them believe that he is their age. So if he is talking to a six year old boy, he will make the boy believe that he is six year old as well. I have known Shah Rukh for years now, and he treats me like a kid brother. I can talk to him about anything and everything. If I talk to him about books, he will know about books. If I talk to him about music, he will know about music. If I talk to him about sports, he will know that too.  He is such an intelligent man and a very witty guy. So between me and him there’s a competition of wit going on. Because I am throwing a punch line at him, he is throwing back at me. But both of us are very real with each other. I can feel his love for me. And I know with Shah Rukh, I have to be ready about anything and everything. Because if I throw something at him, he is going to throw four things back at me. So I like that competitive edge with Shah Rukh.

What kind of challenges did you face along the way? How did you overcome them?

 So I have always been a man with a vision. During my journey of interviewing stars, everyone at that time used to ask typical questions and I was first guy who talked to the star like a friend. I used to ask naughty fun questions, never hurt or debate with anyone. That time the managers and PRs they had never seen an anchor like this. Giving high five to stars to pulling their legs, yet the stars used to love me. The PR and the managers would always pressure me to ask clichéd questions. But I stood my ground. I knew where I was headed. I knew that I would make a difference to this business. Also it came naturally to me, I wasn’t acting and I used to fight a system and I used to tell that just the way you guys want to make different kind of cinema as an anchor I want to do different kind of anchoring. If I ask same questions like any other anchor then what is the difference. So I used to fight a system in those days and what really helped me was that the stars were in my favor. Slowly the star would tell the PR people and managers that they wanted to do a Siddharth Kanan interview. Sid K has to be a part of the big promotional strategies for our film. And obviously I would not only ask film questions but also a lot of things about their personal life about their journey with a streak of madness. While all the other people would only talk about film, I used to feel a lot of pressure but like a stubborn boy I stood

my ground. And today it’s great to know that a lot of people are getting inspired by my set of interviews and the format of interviews that I do so I have at least opened the gates to a lot of people. But the original will always be ORIGINAL.

Any word of advice you would like to give to the aspiring RJ / Anchors?

All I want to say is there are always going to be rules or formulas and people will give you advice. Hear advice but do exactly what you do. What makes you different, what makes you a path breaking anchor is when you have the guts to break traditional norms. By that I don’t mean that you hurt people. Like till date I don’t use any cuss words in my show. Till date I do show where my mother, daughter or my wife can be the audience. So I do naughty shows but I cater it to a family audience and yet I am funny. So at the end of the day what make you special is you being YOU. You will see successful people. You will try to ape them but at the end of the day you will always be an ape. You will always be a mimicry artist. I find a lot of people nowadays who see successful videos of artist like us. They kind of try the same formula but that formula works for me because that comes to me naturally. Find your own formulas. Discover yourself and yes there will be people who will tell you not to do this but if your heart tells you, you are right then Just DO It! And that’s what will make a difference.