My Story: "Until My Last Breath, This Show Will Go On," Says Anchor Of Most Loved Kannada Quiz Show
"Thatt antha heli" is Kannada quiz contest where various contestants need to answer a series of questions based on general knowledge to win prizes. The show is hosted by Someswara Narappa, who works as a doctor on weekdays, and turns into a quizmaster over weekends. Narappa has been working on this show, which has managed to win hearts across the state, for over 15 years now. "Thatt antha heli" is 3,250 episodes and 35,000 questions old. Interesting, he charges little to no remuneration for this.
"From handling a phoning show where people could call me and find out about any health issues, to hosting a quiz show where we gave books and knowledge as giveaways, I have come a long way. So has "thatt antha heli" (Say it instantly). It was launched in 2002 and it is going strong till date. I just wrapped a shoot yesterday"
"How and when did quizzing happen?"
"In my childhood, I couldn't afford a radio. So I made my own radio with the help of an exam pad, broken transistor and a lot of other junk brought from a shop in Shivajinagar. I did all that just so I could listen to the Bournvita quiz on Vivid Bharathi. The one and only English radio show back then. I am talking about the early 70s. That's my first encounter with Quizzing. And they say, first love lasts forever," he smiles.
"Your show has a Limca book of the world record for the longest running Indian TV show. How long do you plan to continue it?"
"Until my last breath and until Doordarshan prefers to continue the program, this show will go on," he said with pride in his smile.
"What are few of the best encounters you've had because of the show?"
"This show is not for money. I do this purely out of the love I've developed for this show over time. When I am in public, kids as young as a year old to old people aged 80 years, recognise me and tell me about how much they love my show.
My wife and I once went to have lunch in a restaurant in Hubli. We finished lunch and went to pay the bill and the cashier said, 'sir. Nim bill already yaaro pay maadidare' (sir. Your bill has been paid by somebody). We had no idea who that person was and I know 50 or 60 Rupees is not a big deal. But it's the love they have for me or for the show. And this is how people show love to me and I am ever grateful to them. There are a number of little stories like this."
"What was your childhood like?"
"I lost my father when I was a baby. My mother brought me up and she educated me till 10th. Later she didn't have money to educate me. So she called me and said, 'look, I know you are doing very well with studies. But in our current financial situation, we can afford either food for both of us or your education. You pick what you want'. I am sure that was the hardest statement for her to make. We didn't have a choice. So I decided to take care of my own education. I was good at making pocket sketches.
So I used to make pocket sketches on current events and walk from Malleswaram to MG road and go to all publishers like Kannada Prabha, Praja Vani, Samyukta Karnataka to give these sketches. They paid us 3 rupees for one sketch. That's how I made little money in my free time and finished my PUC. But other than that, I read books. I put my faith and belief in them and made the public library my second home. That poverty kind of helped me become the dedicated man that I am today.
I do a 9-5 job on weekdays as an industrial doctor and my weekends are dedicated for "thatt antha heli" shoots. And neither my son Nachiket nor my wife Rukmavathi has ever complained about it. Not even once in the past 16 years have they missed me. I have not been there for his summer holidays or for any family functions. But I have managed to travel wide and far, through these books" he smiled pointing at the pile of books on his table.
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