There is a lot that goes into creating an experience for fans in a VIVO Pro Kabaddi match. Besides the actual games which are played, fan engagement extends to ensuring that the period before, after or sometimes even during games doesn’t result in a loss of energy among the members of the audience. No one knows this better than the people who are in charge of the entertainment section of the league. Prokabaddi.com caught up with one of the official DJs for the league Sidharth Talwar and got some insight into his job as an entertainer. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Please give us some insight into your role.
Except for the voice of the referee, everything else that is heard is played by the DJ. The kabaddi chants, the team anthems, the music before and between the games are all played by the DJ. It is a tiring job because you’re not free even for a moment.
What are your cues because you have to be on the ball at all times?
Sometimes it so happens that you’re so glued to the action on the mat that you tend to miss some things and because we do the same thing repeatedly even one mistake stands out. There may be a second of delay on some occasions but we usually get it right.
How does this season compare with the previous ones?
I had a very different experience this season. This is the only sport besides cricket that people love to watch live and discuss with their families and friends. The kids’ kabaddi (KBD Juniors) also takes place in which school students come along with their parents and our music helps to motivate them. This season has also been the most exciting in terms of business and the TRPs are high because of the popularity of the sport.
You are a DJ and you have to adapt to the various cities you visit. Which city according to you has the most mature crowd?
I was recently at the Sonepat leg and that city has never watched a live game of any sports league before. The people were excited to cheer on the Haryana team, which is a new team this season. Haryana is a huge state and Sonepat is a small district in Haryana. Initially I didn’t know how it would be but the people were so excited that even after the game they were talking about kabaddi. The people were completely involved in the sport which made it a great experience for me. In the major cities like Mumbai or Bangalore where the matches have happened before, people leave the stadium and go back to their usual lives but in those small cities it’s a huge thing for them. It was so exciting to watch people paying so much attention to this sport, which is India’s own sport. We have an anthem, ‘ye India ka khel hai’. Being the maximum amount of support which this sport gets is from the rural regions and that’s amazing to see.
How is kabaddi different from the other sports in terms of your role as an entertainer?
I feel my role is the most prominent in this sport. In a way, whatever plays from the speakers, whether it is music or kabaddi chants, we have to play it all. So I am following the referee and the referee is following me. Sometimes after the team wins a point, I have to play the anthem for 5 seconds which means they are waiting for me stop and then there are also times when I have to wait for them to give a signal to play the anthem. It’s a pretty close relation between me and the referee on the mat. That makes this responsibility a very important one. It has never happened to me in any other sport that I am monitoring everything that is happening on the mat. Even when the players take a break I have to play some music for the crowd. This format is such that something or the other is always happening. Those 3 hours every day are completely filled with music. That makes my job more challenging but also exciting.
How do you communicate with the referee?
It’s mostly through visuals. We have a monitor where we can watch the match. Even if we miss a moment we can see the replay on it. It generally doesn’t happen but we have it with us as a back-up.