I Miss Live Events Where There is Real Audience Feedback and Energy, Says Pooja Kanwal

Entertainment | January 19, 2021 | Promo Feature

Pooja Kanwal

Pooja Kanwal has hosted many live events and prestigious televised shows, keeping up with the pace of the event, sticking to the client brief, delivering the script correctly and adding the right amount of wit and humour. From vibrancy to versatility and audience connect to impact, Kanwal has it all.

In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Kanwal shares insights about her work, experiences, versatility benefits, challenges and future plans.

Tell us about the kind of events and brands that you have worked for and what is your take-away from those experiences?
Fortunately for me, I have been associated with several different brands like Thomas Cook, Pi Industries, Zydus, Hero MotoCorp and many more. I have done a lot of sports tournaments, television shows and many in the entertainment and business fields. My take-away is that with each show, I learn something as an artiste. Each takes a different path as everyone's brief is different, and the growth that happens internally with each show is what draws me towards it.

What, according to you, are the kind of events that can benefit from your versatility as an artiste? Can you give an example of a recent event?
When we mention the word versatility, it speaks of the wide range of events that can benefit from the body of work and capability that you've accumulated over the years. Recently, I have been hosting a cricket tournament where celebrities play – it’s called the ‘Actors’ Cricket Bash Season 2’ and it really did benefit from the presentation skills that I brought to the table. It was also a live telecast, so it helped that I already knew the nuances of hosting an event on live television as well as on-ground.

Being versatile can have a flip side, because you don't know when something is too much or too less because your range is so wide.I really try and tweak what I have to offer with every project specification. Sometimes, the same client wants you to go all out, go into the crowds for crazy fun, and at other times they tell you not to do so. Before every show, I tell myself that my main objective is to understand what exactly it is that they want me to bring in, because I know I can go all out.So, I should only do what is required for that particular project.

How different or challenging is it to host television shows compared to live events?
Television show hosting, live event show hosting and also certain live events that are being televised are three very different kinds of categories. I am sure most hosts have experienced this difference and how much you have to learn and adapt for each medium. Even on television, there is a big difference between hosting big celebrity interviews, panel discussions, all-out entertainment shows, and some serious ones. Then again for live events, all come with their own set challenges – you need to bring in a wide range of skills as each show has different requirements. It is entirely different when you do a real live show, as you know that there is no option to do a retake; if you make a mistake, you have to know how to make it look seamless; you have to keep thinking on your feet, whereas if you are hosting a televised show, you have a director constantly guiding you. That is the biggest difference as a host when something is live vs something pre-recorded or pre-shot.

What has been your experience with hosting virtual events, minus a real responsive audience?
Fortunately, through the whole COVID-19 induced lockdown period, hosting a lot of virtual events has really made me think beyond my comfort zone. It has widened my horizons in terms of the possibilities today that virtual shows bring, even in terms of the Chroma shoots that are pre-shot and some performances, which are displayed on the virtual stage as if it’s happening live in front of you. As far as admiring what technology has brought into our lives, one does majorly miss the whole response of a live audience, especially if you're an anchor like me, who feeds off the energy of the people around you.

Despite all the wonders that technology brings, there is a huge feeling that something is missing, and I can't wait for things to normalize. Yes, I do feel now a lot of virtual will be a part of our lives and I don't think that I, as a performer, have left any stone unturned to adapt to the new normal. I'm today adept and capable of posting things on the virtual domain and it wasn't too much of a shift, because I was already used to doing a lot of work on-camera. But there is no taking away from the fact that I miss real live events, where there is an audience feedback and energy. I miss it being really, really noisy!

As an artiste, how did you keep yourself engaged during the lockdown? What are your future plans
hankfully, there has been no confusion or problem with what do I do with my time when the pandemic changed our lives one fine day. I was constantly working through it all, be it presenting or doing televised shows. Sometimes I had to learn how to shoot from my phone, I had to invest in getting a little bit of a set-up in my house with a Chroma, light, basic mike, understanding how to upload links from the phone. For about a week, I had to quickly adapt to the technology. Then, I was constantly hosting virtual events from home as well.

We’ve reached a stage where everyone has found their comfort zone. The one thing that I really don't enjoy is being dependent on a weak Internet network. But now, we've all gotten used to it. We've all got our back-up, dongles, wi-fi and fiber networks in place – after all, necessity is the mother of invention! When it is important to learn something and acquire certain skills, and when you know your entire work depends on it, you do it. In fact, you don't just do it, but you actually excel at it.

For someone who's always multi-tasked and worked full-fledged from the age of 17 and as a hobby from the age of 15, I don't think it was too much for me to get around. Fortunately, my go-getter spirit helped. I hope it continues to help me cope with whatever is thrown upon us in the days ahead, as it happened in 2020. You never know what changes when and how, but I think we've all come out of it beautifully and I hope there is no stopping us from here on.

In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, well known show host and anchor Pooja Kanwal shares insights about her work, experiences, versatility benefits, challenges and future plans.

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