FM Radio’s First Feature Film!

92.7 BIG FM creates history with the launch of FM radio’s first ever feature film that was a special Mother’s Day treat for listeners. The two hour movie titled Maa Ke Aanchal Mein is written by Neelesh Misra and the star-cast includes Divya Dutta playing the sutradhar, Tisca Chopra as the discerning mother, Sachin Khedekar as the father, Alok Nath as Dadaji, Himani Shivpuri as Daadi, Upasna Singh as Chachi, Satish Shah as Chacha and Sparsh Khanchandani as the daughter. The movie depicts the strong yet beautiful bond between a mother and her daughter where the mother goes out of her way to educate her daughter against the wishes of the family. She fights against all odds and goes through various struggles in her life to give her daughter with the best that life has to offer. GR8! spoke to few of the actors on their experience working on a unique project. Excerpts from the interview…

What made you nod a yes to feature in this radio feature film?
Alok Nath: I have never done anything for the radio ever before. I have heard a lot of plays on radio but that’s about it. When 92.7 BIG FM approached me to be a part of this film (Radio Ki Pehli Picture – Maa Ke Aanchal Mein), I was delighted. One reason being that it is the first ever feature film made by a radio station and that in itself was very exciting for me. Second reason being that it was not just a feature film, it was a feature film with a social message; one that is very important to create awareness about – secondary education for the girl child. Providing education to girls is a very common thing. most people educate their daughters, maybe for a couple of years but that is all. What about secondary education? It is a beautiful social message that we were promoting through this film, a very sensitive one at that rather and I’m very happy to have been a part of this film.
Himani Shivpuri: The whole idea of this radio feature film was entirely unique. While I have lent my voice for a radio play called The Cherry Orchard back in the 80s, this is a completely different concept. For starters, Radio Ki Pehli Picture – Maa Ke Aanchal Mein is the first ever radio feature film by a radio station and when I was asked if I’d like to be a part of it, I instantly responded in agreement because honestly, who doesn’t want to be a part of history!  (laughs) But mainly I also said yes to be a part of this project because it is not just a film to entertain the masses, it has a very special message, one that is close to my heart – Secondary education for the girl child. I am a woman myself and I understand the need for a girl to have basic secondary education at the least.
Sparsh Khanchandani: I was very keen on being a part of it mainly because it is the first radio feature film. I was very excited because there may be many more which will start getting aired but this will always be the first. Also, the concept is really heart-warming so we will all be remembered not only for being a part of the first radio feature film but also because of being a part of a concept that is so brilliant. I’m glad that I was approached to promote Secodnary Education for the Girl Child. It is such a nobel concept. I believe in it strongly an even though I’m currently doing well for myself, I will never stop learning. I will never cut down on my education for anything.

How different is it from acting in TV or Films..?
Alok: It is a very different experience. No one is really looking at you, there are no cameras so it becomes easier to emote but at the same time it is also difficult because you have to depend solely on your voice to do all the work. Although it is a different experience, acting in films or on television is poles apart from emoting on the radio. Your voice is the supreme star here; not your facial expressions or your body language. In that sense, it was quite refreshing, different from the usual work that we actors do.
Himani: It is a totally different experience than acting on television or in films. Here your voice has to create an imagery for the listeners. The listeners have nothing to depend on to relate to the emotions, no acting to see and connect either. The voice plays a very important role as it has to create images of the character you are portraying. Everything is solely dependent on how you express through your speech and modulations in your voice.
Sparsh: It is extremely different from acting on television or in films. On radio, you can’t act, you can only emote through your voice. So not only is it different but it is also extremely challenging. Whatever the message is, it has to be passed on only through the medium of voice – your sentiments, your emotions everything. Although, I have tried my hands at dubbing, I will never be able to deny how difficult it is. Each time, it is difficult.

Is it more difficult to express as the medium is just audio..?
Alok: No, I won’t exactly call it difficult. I will call it an experience. Of course, you solely have to use your voice for absolutely everything and that can seem difficult at first. But once you’ve gone over the script, ead it a couple of times, you can rehearse by concentrating solely on how you sound and if your voice is exhibiting the kind of emotions that it requires to. You have nothing else to worry about; not the way you look, not the posture, not your body language but simply your voice and personally, that made it a lot easier for me.
Himani: Yes, absolutely. It is extremely difficult. As an actor you have depended on you facial expressions, body language as well as your voice – all combined to give the perfect shot and suddenly when your two key weapons are taken away and you have to do all your work through one medium only, it is pressurizing to perform because the work is a lot more. So it’s very challenging but when you hear yourself and you know you’ve done a good job, it is all worth it in the end.
Sparsh: Yes, it is extremely challenging and at times you think you’re doing it well but you don’t know till you don’t hear yourself. I believe you must never let anything bring you down. So no matter how difficult it was, I knew I had to do it and I had to it the best way I possibly can. One can only overcome hurdles by giving it their best shot. Moreover,  voice modulations and voice expressions can be learnt and when there is the excitement of learning and doing something new, the difficulty factor automatically subdues.

Your Experience?
Alok: I had a wonderful time shooting for Radio Ki Pehli Picture – Maa Ke Aanchal Mein. I think this has been a novel idea by the team of 92.7 BIG FM. Upliftment of women, secondary education for the girl child; these are the basic implementations a country needs to make for the betterment of the society, for the development of the nation. Even then, most of the people in our country, not even barring the metro cities completely are really aware of its importance. Moreover, the connect in spreading this message lies in the fact that radio has become an extremely strong medium today. It is in fact on par with that of television or even stronger than that. The common man travels a lot in his day-to-day life and as such, all he has is a mobile phone and the radio to keep him company. It is lovely to see how 92.7 BIG FM is leveraging this platform not just to entertain but also to educate.
Himani: I had an amazing experience recording for the film. My co-stars were great and I have known Alok for a long time now, I’ve seen Tisca really grow and I’m happy to see her come this far. Working with them again was another joy I experienced, being a part of this radio feature film. It was interesting and challenging both. In fact I had just returned from dubbing for a role before I came to the 92.7 BIG FM studio to dub for Radio Ki Pehli Picture – Maa Ke Aanchal Mein and I was so worried because I could feel my voice completely strained and croaky. So much so that I actually stopped by the chemist to pick a cough syrup on my way. I was extremely nervous but all went well in the end and that was doubly satisfying because I had played my part well not just in the feature film but also in promoting a very important message.
Sparsh: It was a wonderful experience. Being a part of Radio Ki Pehli Picture – Maa Ke Aanchal Mein will always be close to my heart. I would want to thank one 92.7 BIG FM for providing me with this opportunity and more importantly the support that I received from them throughout. There is this crew member from the recording team who helped me get through my obstacles really smoothly. When I started off with recording, my voice came through like that of an eight year old. I found it difficult at that moment but the support from the recording team and this one member in particular helped me not only overcome it but also made me realize that nothing is too difficult to achieve. My experience has been absolutely wonderful and I feel a sense of immense gratitude to be able to send across a message to the parents of India that they must educate their girl child and believe in them without imbibing any kind of gender discrimination.

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