Aishwarya Rao

Yesterday I hosted the UTD Indian Students' Associations' annual day celebrations - Sangam 2008. Given that this was the 10th year of celebrations, the entertainment was bigger, better and more professional than ever.

To say that the 'desis' present at the Charles Eismann centre last night was one of my most beloved crowds would be a miserable understatement...Because in the last 8 years of professional emceeing I have never addressed such a berserk audience ever!

My co-host Rajiv Karanam and I had prepared a very tight script which did not give room to any last minute confusions. We based it on a Bollywood theme and tried to convert the emceeing into more or less a FilmFare Awards ceremony. But lo and behold! That is reel and real world is very nasty! Some logistics issues demanded that the very well prepared emcees had to fill in for up to fifteen minutes - extempore!

A wikipedia article on Bollywood (that we had printed out in order to have snippets on our fingertips) was our saving grace. Not just that...time and experience had taught us to sport a smile and tell a story without the audience having a single clue about the craziness backstage.

As for the delivery itself, I thoroughly enjoyed interspersing my commentary with Marathi (Shah rukh, tu kutte ahez), Hindi (Ek Chutki sindoor ki kimat tum kya jano), Telugu (ipudi choodu), Punjabi (chado hunnu luvu shuv) and of course in Tamizh (enna koduma saravanan idhu)!

Apart from the insane cheering from the crowd each time I reminded them that I was Aishwarya Rao (and not Rai), friends and school mates screaming out my name in deep affection, the moment I will remember for a very very long time is when I mentioned the name of my favorite rock star- Rajnikant! For a full 40 seconds the crowd applauded in a fashion that could have only one description-maniacal. The last time I experienced such a thing was at the preview show of Rajnikant's Sivaji in 2007. Yesterday, I simply stood in front of the podium sweetly paralyzed by the frenzy of the people in front of me.

It also reminded me of an old lesson.
When you speak to an audience of a thousand people there are various touch points. It is important to touch all of them, but also find that one common thread and connect. Once that happens the engagement for the rest of the show is a cake walk!
Altogether Sangam 2008 was an emcee experience I will cherish for a lifetime...The very adorable crowd (that wondered where I vanished and demanded I be brought back when the second set of emcees took over) made my day. Sangam might have been one of my few non-commercial shows, but the feeling, the sensation and thrill of being a part of a very large and happy Indian crowd was unparalleled!
18 Responses
  1. Unknown Says:

    You rocked yesterday. I really love the way you speak and the way carried yourself.

  2. Thank you! Who is this imaggic btw?

  3. Unknown Says:

    Hey, I am Varun who danced on Kajrare and didi tera devar deewana.

  4. Aaaaaaaaah!!! Got you! Nice to see you here Varun! You were awesome on stage. Very casual. Very natural :-)

  5. Unknown Says:

    Thanks for your comments. You were really looking hot and sizzling...

  6. Ahem ahem! Thank you...We must start our mutual fan club off blogger ;-)

  7. Jaggi Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Jaggi Says:

    i found ur blog randomly through links of other blogs.we don't know each other of course.. its "ipudu choodu" in telugu.
    And found that u r also addicted to google products :-)nice ...
    at first i saw ur pic in blog, i thought u r shalini(ajith's wife).. lol... but i think u r not..

  9. hehe..thanks for dropping by.
    Ipudu choodu - I am not Shalini. Lol.

  10. Jaggi Says:

    hmm... got tat..

  11. Satish Bhat Says:

    hi aishu - looks like u've rocked as usual !

    u look v graceful in the pic :)

  12. Thanks Bhatu :-)

  13. Girish Says:


    "hot and sizzling"... Shalini..

    Kalakindrukka A!! :D

  14. Haha! Thanks G ;-)

  15. Raghavan Says:

    Kalakara Chandru !!!!!

  16. eggwall Says:


    I loved your comment on how to connect with a thousand strong audience. Churchill knew how to.

    And going by other comments, you also know how to.

    Good luck Aishwarya...

  17. @ Raghavan, @Narendra

    Thank you :-)