Humour for health: Meet Cyrus, the virus
Done over a decade ago, this interaction gives you a sneak peek into the workings of a remarkable mind
Pic credit: Wikimedia
Cyrus Broacha is many things to many people. The thirty-seven-year-old (now 49) is a VJ, a theatreperson, a TV anchor, a writer and also the guy who made you ‘kangal’ (penniless) if you had stuck to the adage ‘Ignorance is bliss’ and shared the stage with him on his old show ‘Kaun Banega Kangal.’
Love him or hate him. But you can’t ignore him. He’s all over the place. If you skip MTV, he invades your drawing rooms through TV commercials. If you switch off the TV and look up the newspaper, you are drawn to his funny takes on relationships.
A graduate of St Xavier’s College in Mumbai, Cyrus is also a product of Lee Strassburg Acting Studio, New York. Not content with acting, Cyrus has also scripted, co-scripted and directed plays.
Born into a half-Parsi (father Farokh), half-Catholic (mother Olivia) family, Cyrus has assumed the reputation of a menace with a machine-gun mouth. Now he says, “People used to say, shut up, shut up, you talk too much. Hah, now I’m making money talking!”
When he was in Bangalore to shoot for his new show ‘Fool’s Stop’ way back in 1999, he had told me that the future of television is in interactive shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati. And how prophetic it has been with reality shows leading the pack in today’s attention-deficit-disorder times. Here are excerpts from an interview I had done 12 years ago…
When’s your birthday?
August 7… 1529.
Jokes aside, if not a veejay, what would you have been?
Probably a lawyer or a copywriter. I was studying law in Government Law College, Mumbai. Then I worked as a trainee copywriter for Da Cunha’s (an advertising agency).
Okay, what’s the stereotype surrounding VJs?
That they are all stupid. While it’s true to a large extent, I’m trying to change that. But it’s not easy.
What do you get out of veejaying?
No respect. In fact, I want to go for a sex-change operation. Women get more respect than men.
So what is veejaying all about?
What are you?
An out of work actor.
Still, you earn enough to survive, right?
Oh yeah! I earn too much! (his co-star in Fool’s Stop Kunal Vijayakar, butts in ‘In fact, he’s thinking of giving the surplus money to the Kunal Vijayakar fund’)
What’s been the most challenging TV assignment so far?
MTV Bakra. It’s one show where we have no control over. Anything can happen. And most times, we decide to do something and end up doing something else. I have had a couple of brushes with the law. They have seized our camera, hit our cameraman. There are also those bureaucratic permissions that one has to take before one shoots in public places. Then we should also think if the humour is okay, insulting or has crossed the line of control.
How easy is it to make people laugh?
If you are naked, it’s much more easier… like the Channel Five girls.
What’s your USP?
My good looks.
What has been your contribution to veejaydom?
Earlier, there were VJ’s like Danny McGill and Kamal Sidhu with an American accent. Everyone of them impeccably dressed, not one hair out of place. This irritated me. When I became a veejay, I was the only unkempt person on TV. Now everyone is behaving badly. I should charge them a royalty for this!
Which role have you enjoyed most?
Acting in the play ‘Unfaithful.’
You seem to go gaga over Unfaithful in every interview of yours…
Actually, the play is all about faithfulness. But these marketing people thought that if they make it unfaithful, people will think it’s a sex comedy and say, ‘Ha, ha, horny, horny, let’s go.’ These marketing people are the bane of society. They don’t have any sensitivity. They are killing society.
What’s the future of TV?
Real life shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, Survivors (a popular adventure series on UK television). Old formula shows are dead. You can no longer talk down to people. Short vignettes of 10-15 minutes will be more appreciated to half-hour and one-hour programmes.
What’s been the most humiliating experience in your life?
Lots. At St Xavier’s college where I was studying, the seniors asked me to clean the loo. When I was doing a campus show for TV, I happened to enter the classroom of a Parsi teacher at Sophias College in Mumbai. She was giving a lecture on how all men were bastards. I was the only guy in the classroom and all the girls stared at me as if I was responsible for it. It was most embarrassing.
Where do you see yourself in two years’ time?
Dead… from a car crash. Honestly, I have no idea.
When are you getting married?
I have had a couple of miscarriages. I want to marry but my girl friend wants me to wait. So I am waiting. (He got married to a photographer in 2001and has two children from her.)
Which girl friend?
I have only one.
What’s your email ID?
I will give you, but not to your readers.
How often do you check your emails?
I don’t. My mother does it for me. I’m electronically disabled. I have no skills.
Have you visited Bangalore before?
I have been coming here since the 80s to take part in theatre. That time, there was no restriction on bars. But in the Veerappan generation, bars are closing by 1130pm. I really don’t understand this. People should be free to do what they want.
After a standup comic interview, how about some real comics to make your day? The YouTopian Journey will reset your mind with its weekly wisdom, inspiration, motivation, and art. Creator Shaun Gold calls it the “world’s first graphic novel for self-help that will allow you to unlock the galaxy within”. I love it for its timely wisdom in these turbulent times. I’m sure you will too!