Oct 11, 2008

Entertainment - Q&A Harsha Bhogle

Priyanka Pereira

India’s most popular Cricket host is now etching out travel plans for you

Television channels are dishing out travel shows by the dozen. What is so different about Travel India?
Honestly, I don’t know because I haven’t been watching too many travel shows. But what I can say about the show is I am not the quintessential anchor, I’m just a visitor. I go to a particular city and discover it myself. And I think, unlike many shows this one doesn’t focus too much on the anchor. It is the voiceover that plays in the background. And the show does not target a particular section of society.

How did the transition happen from cricket to travel?
It wasn’t planned at all. BBC came up with this offer and I thought I should take it up. Shooting for it was a different experience as compared to being a commentator on a sports channel. One needs a lot of patience, because you may have to wait hours to get a particular shot right. For a 30-minute show, we end up shooting for eight to 10 hours per day. I concentrated hard, read up a lot but enjoyed every bit of working on the show.

What are the various cities you have focused on? Does the show follow a certain pattern?
We started off with Bhuj and other parts of Gujarat and then moved towards the North-Delhi and Amritsar. For the rest of the episodes we shot in various parts of North East, Central India and South India. The show is a free-flowing one and at most times we innovated on the spot.

Travel shows are big on food these days. What about this one?
Isn’t it strange that there is so much focus on food these days? Even this show has a whole lot of food element involved where we eat langar at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. In one of the episodes I try out the Hyderabadi murgh biryani and in another one, I try out food from a tribal village in Gujarat.

What are the essentials of a good host?
No matter what you are doing, you need to be well-read on that subject. Patience is a virtue when you are hosting a travel show, while live television calls for presence of mind and in-depth knowledge.

What’s next on the agenda?
For the moment, it is the Champions League in December.

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