Hello, Folks! In this week’s #blabwithsandy, I have a special guest. She is known for taking celebrity interviews and has made a wonderful name for herself. Not only Bollywood, she has spread her magnificent essence in Hollywood too, with her collaboration with stars ranging from the West. Not only hosting shows, she also is the Content Lead for the Bollywood News vertical at Zoom. It’s none other than the energetic Rudrani Chattoraj! Let’s wait no further and just zoom into the exciting chat
Sandy: Hello Hello! Hope you are doing as entertaining as your shows, Rudrani.
Rudrani: Hi, Sandy. Ha-ha! Yes, indeed. During these testing times of the pandemic, if we are doing safe and healthy, it means we are doing well.
Sandy: Could you let us know about your background?
Rudrani: I completed my Botany Honours with Chemistry and Zoology as my pass subjects in Kolkata. I was on the verge of pursuing Bio Technology or genetics post that but a part of me was always inclined towards mass communication and journalism.
My mother encouraged me to go after what I really wanted and that’s how I ended up choosing Mass Communication for post-graduation in Delhi. While I was studying there, I got my internship with Times Now for Video journalism.
Sandy: How and when did your Content and Journalism career get a kick-start?
Rudrani: During my internship with Times Network and I realized that I was gravitating more towards the field of entertainment journalism. The world of cinema and stories shared by people creating them fascinated me.
I got an offer from Zoom and that’s where it all truly began. For me, interviews were never just about the routine set of questions-answers, but was about highlighting the true stories of the people involved in it. It was an opportunity to learn and unlearn more about the ‘stars’ and show their different and unexplored facets to the world.
Sandy: Zoom is one of the most entertaining channels we have for Bollywood. You are its entertainment host and Content lead. Could you throw some light on it?
Rudrani: It has been an interesting journey for me at Zoom. When I’d joined the company, I was aware that Zoom was among the few media companies that focused completely on entertainment news, unlike news channels that use entertainment content as fillers. Post a lot of self- reflection and analysis; I realized what my forte was. I have made mistakes along the way and learned from it. The organization further encouraged my different ideas and the growth of my own identity. I was put in leadership positions to lead news content and hosted shows. I got many opportunities to grow within the organization.
Like I’ve mentioned before, it was the realization that there are people who would love to know about the real side of celebrities through candid conversations and so, I followed my instincts and delivered the best output that I could. I think we have managed to explore different aspects of their lives and bring out all kinds of stories from the world of entertainment. I have also realized that in this industry, your networking will probably get you good stories and new acquaintances but at the end, it’s so important to have a work-personal life balance and keep the two separate.
Sandy: What makes you different from the other Celebrity hosts that we have in the industry?
Rudrani: Wow! This is an interesting question and I hope I do not sound weird or cocky while answering it (smiles). Yes, there are amazing hosts in the industry, who do have something specific that works for them. I hope and believe that I have the ability to create an environment where they can share their stories without feeling judged or uncomfortable. I am not sure if this is my USP but I do try to ask questions that highlight interesting aspects of their personalities.
Sandy: Apart from hosting shows, interviewing celebrities, and leading the content segment, what else does Rudrani indulge in?
Rudrani: I am good in managing and connecting to people, ha-ha! I also write sometimes. I have been doing a lot more fun content creation on my individual social media accounts and will want to be more regular with that.
I would like to be more involved in social causes, specially about the protection of the rights for women, work with organizations that help domestic / sexual violence survivors and more, Post being a part of several panels that were discussed the changing role of women in Cinema and society, I would like to further collaborate in creative ways to keep these necessary conversations going. Hopefully one day I can create a safe space that brings together powerful women leaders from different fields (lawyers, writers, film makers, journalists, etc.) who will help other women with no resources and mentor/ advice them for any issues in their lives.
Quick Shot Round:
- Your biggest regret: I wish I was kinder to myself & said “Well done, Rudrani!” sometimes. There were many occasions where I could have encouraged and loved myself a little more
- Your close friends in the industry: These are actors I admire on and off screen and get along really well with – Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha, Bhumi Pednekar, Dia Mirza , Vidya Balan, etc
- An interview of yours which got you nervous: It has to be my interview with Christian Bale. I am a huge fan of his and I got to do his interview in-person. When you are sitting down as an interviewer, it’s so important to put all your personal admiration aside and get an engaging conversation out of it. I was nervous but excited at the same time. I think It went really well and I admire his ability to cut off from all the frenzy and lead a very simple yet real life with his family
- Your funniest interview till date: Ranveer Singh’s interviews! He is unpredictable and crazy; I am quite fond of him. Also my interview with ‘The Chainsmokers’ music band was crazy. Their answers were spontaneous and very unpredictable (laughs)
- Someone whom you haven’t interviewed yet but are vying to interview in the near future? Meryl Streep and Beyonce as they are such strong and inspiring women. Besides being incredibly talented , they often use their voice to highlight issues in our society and standout in everything that they do
- Good and bad about the Journalism industry: Good is that we get to show a new side of someone and bring out stories that were unheard of and may help in changing their lives for the better . Bad – would be the Clickbait journalism. We have to be responsible for the authenticity of the news we are putting out.
- Imagine you being stuck in the lift alongside two film personalities. Who would you want those two to be and why? Al Pacino for sure! He is one of the greatest actors we have . Discussing his process would be fascinating. And now for a very contrasting person , away from this field – our honorable prime minister Narendra Modi and I would like to ask him why doesn’t have any press conferences with the journalists?
- If you’d to barter your career for a day, with who would it be? Greta Thunberg. Only because, at her age I didn’t have her dedication or will power to change the world. She doesn’t look her lifestyle as a sacrifice but rather like the need of the hour. People troll her sometimes but at the end of the day, she remains unfettered and focused on her goal
- Favourite genre of Cinema: Crime Drama and Thrillers
- What does Rudrani do when she is idle? Watching series /films and reading books
- Most used App on phone: Instagram
- If ever a movie were to be made on your life, what would you name and which genre would it relate to? It will be a dysfunctional family drama (laughs), where the crazy female lead steps out for her own set of adventures. I would name it “Uncaged”
Sandy: Such an interesting chunk of answers, Rudrani. If I were to direct or write it, I would title it as “Rani Raj”, which originates itself from the latter halves of your full name. 🙂
Rudrani: Ha-ha! It sounds like Gundaraj though, Sandy!!!
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
Rudrani: I just finished season 1 of Zoom Happy Space. I have some interesting interviews lined up for the future. I will be focusing on individual content creation as well. Apart from work, I honestly want everybody to be safe as the situation is still very grave.
I feel privileged that I am doing well but I want everybody to heal and come out of this pandemic safe. Focus on Mental Health is the need of the hour and it really hasn’t been easy for most people. Most of my interviews have been over Zoom calls and I continue to do that. I really hope that the world heals soon and let’s continue to take all necessary safety precautions
Sandy: Any piece of advice that you’d like to give to the newcomers who are vying to enter the Journalism and Media industry?
Rudrani: I don’t think you should join this industry to only meet celebrities or to hang out with them. You need to have a bigger purpose than that and one should not get caught in the trap of being famous or being recognized. In order to get views or likes, you don’t have to pander to their egos and do things that are against your personal beliefs. Do not try to be something that you are not!
Editor’s note: It was really wonderful getting to interact with Rudrani Chattoraj and being able to bring her story out! Wishing Rudrani a soothing career ahead, filled with claps and accolades.
Interview by Sandy (Sandeep Rao)
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy
Follow Rudrani @rudranic