R.Sreekandan Nair is back with what he does best – hosting a talk show. The ace host, who helmed ‘Nammal Thammil’, the talk show on Asianet for 17 years (727 episodes), before moving on to Mazhavil Manorama, where he hosted ‘Samadooram’ (51 episodes) will now be seen anchoring ‘Sreekandan Nair Show’ on Surya TV. It goes on air on January 6, 8.30 p.m. He talks about what keeps him going, the new topics and more. Excerpts…

You are starting off with a sensitive issue?

Yes, the inaugural episode, ‘Peedanakkarane Kollano?’ debates how those found guilty in sexual harassment cases should be punished. This is against the backdrop of the brutal Delhi gang rape. In the panel is actor Mohanlal. Major Ravi, Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) T.P. Senkumar, veteran journalist K.M. Roy and sportsperson Shiny Wilson are some of the other guests on the show. We also present the views of family members of victims of sexual abuse.

Being a talk show host

People say I have the gift of the gab. But I have to keep in mind that I should not test the patience of my audience. So I keep my language simple and often test my presentation skills on children. When I started off in 1994, the concept was fairly new. The show could build a rapport with the audience because we brought in familiar faces and themes and kept the presentation simple, sprinkling a dash of entertainment. I also ensure that I don’t repeat certain observations/topics for which I have to be up-to-date about the themes and issues happening around us. I’ve also learnt that if a talk show has to make its way into a family, you’ve to start with the women. They are the vote bank of a talk show! Above all, I’ve to remind myself that my profile and integrity are always under the scanner. The audience expects me to have the best of all qualities!

Challenges in the field

There are talk shows on almost all channel and they rule primetime. So ratings count and, therefore, the marketability. The standard should be maintained. I have never included any topic just to boost the ratings. People say there is a paucity of topics, which isn’t quite true. But there are certain topics that can’t be discussed on television.

Unforgettable episodes

There was an episode on AIDS in which we aired the interview of a patient without masking the face. Her medical condition was not known to her family till then. She wrote a letter to me saying that she was thrown out of her house after the episode was aired. There was another episode on misuse of mobile phones among school students in which we made the Minister concerned promise that phones would be banned from school campuses. Though that came into effect, it is quite sad to learn that now students smuggle phones into schools.

Brand Sreekandan Nair!

Well, it is the first time that a talk show on Malayalam television is named after the host. By now people are familiar with my presentation style (especially the way he bids farewell after each episode with his trademark ‘Goodbye’). The format is that of a usual talk show. But, this one would present a new viewing experience, with regard to the set and the lighting.