Monday, January 29, 2007

News read by

Remember Geethanjali Ayer? I interviewed someone last week who reminded me of Geethanjali Ayer. That set off an avalanche of wistful nostalgia.

“This is ole India radio. The news read by Geethanjali Ayer”
“This is ole India radio. The news read by Lotika Ratnam”
Then there was television! Here are some of my favorite news casters from old times.
Rini Simon was one of the best, later changed her name to Rini Khanna. She could have gotten married or the opposite.

Neetu Ravindran had the best accent of all. Free flowing, polished, st xaviers , colonial. She grew a fascinating mole on her nose too. Anyone who listened to her will fall in love with desi accent.

Komal GB Singh My childhood fantasies about older wimmen revolved around the lovely Komal GB Singh. I loved watching her read, but I seldom listened to her.

My brother and I would stay up late to watch the best news program of all “The World this week”. It was 10 years ahead of its times - with its stunning title jingles to the way they presented world stories. Remember Appan Menon reporting from Golan heights? Man that guy was fantastic. Even the international advertisements were refreshing. Cathey Pacific, MasterCard, JCT Fabrics, Gillette.

There were more - Tejeshwar Singh, Minu, Usha Albuquerque, Sunit Tandon, Sukanya and the unknown poor souls who were made to read Parliament news.

Of all of them, Neetu Ravindran was my favorite. Who was yours ?


Anonymous Rammohan said...

Komal Singh was yum yum ! Man you have taste!!!

My best was Mathews. One dark, rugged Malayali from the south.

World This Week - Yes that was the best. That help Pranoy Roy and NDTV into super stardom!

5:01 PM  
Blogger Muhammad Riyaz said...

Rini Khanna for sure. Then there was a no-smiles no-emotions lady, who happened to read the Indira Gandhi death news too... forgot her name. Again, was Sushama only on AIR?

9:37 PM  
Blogger Payyans said...

Almost everyone kept a poker face. If you turn off the sound, you wouldn't have a clue if the news is about gavaskar hitting a triple century or out for 2. You wouldn't know if Pakistan attacked India or if Deva Gowda announced he is a gay.

I think that is British style. Even the BBC anchors keep a cold face.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Kiran said...

How could you forget the malayalam news readers ? Maya , Rajeshwari Mohan etc . Also AlakaNanda ..
Still feel nostalgic about 12:30 news in AIR - "varthakal vayikkunathu - Balachandran , professional college-ukal ulpadeyulla ella vidhyabhyasa sthapanangalkku nale sarkar avadhi prakyapichu " . It used to make my day ...

1:06 PM  
Blogger Payyans said...

"professional college-ukal ulpadeyulla ella vidhyabhyasa sthapanangalkku nale sarkar avadhi prakyapichu"

Very true !!!!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Soni said...

Do you remember us glued to the TV while Appan Menon reported from all those exotic locales of the world in the study room? Did we catch the whiff of the new age liberalization and global economy right there?

India changed with "World This Week"!

10:15 PM  
Blogger Payyans said...

Yes Soni, very much so!!
Remember Bernard Shaw's live gulf war footage?

Also do you know what was the video documentary Mr.PCN use to show us(in that new class room, behind physics lab) - Hariyana election,Bofors guns... It had some "India Today" connections.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Anoop said...

Hemalatha from DD Malayalam. Azhinjulanja vaaayana

8:23 PM  
Blogger Pradeep said...

I am a radio freak and also a news freak. I grew up listening to radio news, and it was such a pleasure reading this post!

Earliest memories are of Surjit Sen on radio. On TV, Sukanya Balakrishnan. On Malayalam TV, Hemalatha was my favourite... Then on radio: Prathapan and Ramachandran. Remember Ramachandran's Kouthuka varthakal?

Felt very nostalgic reading this post.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one...

I think it was Nidhi Ravindran, and not Neetu!

Wonder how come you forgot Salma? The white (bore)shell with rose? :)

Thanks for the journey down the memory lane!!

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've been watching Hemalatha reading the news for more than 20 years, and she looks ever more gorgeous - what with her hair undone!

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hemalatha is
one of the best newsreaders I have ever seen.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Sudarshan said...

In English my favs were Rini Khanna and Tejeshwar Singh. I also liked Bhaskar Bhattacharjee.

In Hindi, my favs were J. V. Raman and a Punjabi woman (maybe sardarni). I forgot her name.

Listening to news those days was good. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Among the current crop of news readers, I only like Prannoy Roy's news reading.

Would you know how to apply and get a job of a news reader on AIR? I would love that. I think I can read English news very well and I am also told that I have a good reading voice. Any info would be welcome. Thanks :-)

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanx to them, our english had got 'better' day by day. their aura used to stay with us for very long time, even after the news time.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name is Neethi Ravindran!!!

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name is Neethi Ravindran!!

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appan Menon was really great in The World This Week,of him being a Malayali made us all proud during vaccations in Bangalore.Same with Neeti Ravindran,Others Like Gitanjali Iyer,Minu,Rini Simon and above all my fantasy queen Kavery Mukherjee.Those were the days my friend ,Those were the days that will never come back!

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sudarshan said...
In English my favs were Rini Khanna and Tejeshwar Singh. I also liked Bhaskar Bhattacharjee.

In Hindi, my favs were J. V. Raman and a Punjabi woman (maybe sardarni). I forgot her name.

salama sultan..?

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! Those were some days.. :-) Thank you for the sweet nostalia.


8:44 PM  
Blogger Indian said...

My! Makes me nostalgic. Bangalore got TV only on 01.11.1981 and I bought the TV in Jan 82. Daily telecast used to start only at 8.00PM and the whole neighbourhood used to gather. As 9.00PM approached (news time) heavy betting used to break out. Two akkas, Two annas, One akka one anna. If their prediction was correct, they used to raise the roof.
My favourite news reader was Komal GB Sing and Rini Khanna.
On Saturdays we used to get the Bombay doradharshan and invariably it used to be Luku Sanyal. Where is she now?

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is Neethi Ravindran for sure.

3:49 PM  
Blogger శివ said...

What a wonder. This is the greatness of net. I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for the picture of illustrious News Reader Shri Surjit Sen.

Thanks for reminding many many names which I almost forgot.

By any chance, do you have any pictures of the News Readers like Surjit Sen, Barun Haldar etc. If so please send me to my mail vu3ktb@gmail.com

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Prashanth said...

One of the best was Ramu Damodaran, who now works in the United Nations as chief of some department (think it is public communications or relations). Search youtube for Ramu Damodaran UN, should return you a short interview of the guy.

Rini Khanna among the women was the best.

Uncluttered news, and simple spoken english which made sense even to those who were not very familiar with the language. News was a better deal in DD's time.

7:01 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello it was not Neetu. It was Neethi Raveendran the daughter of a Malayali military man who run a big school in Yusaf Sarai in Delhi.
You said Rini Simon was the best . Then how come you selected Neethi ?

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello it was not Neetu. It was Neethi Raveendran the daughter of a Malayali military man who run a big school in Yusaf Sarai in Delhi.
You said Rini Simon was the best . Then how come you selected Neethi ?

2:39 AM  
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1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was Neethi Ravindran not neetu or nidhi

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Manoj Tripathi said...

I just discovered your blog, some 7 years after it was written. In fact I was just wondering what had happened to Sukanya Balakrishnan, yester year's News reader. I had met her once at teh New Delhi REailway station and had walked up to her and chatted with her for a while. I suddenly remembered her and was searching the internet this morning for Sukanya Balakrishnan and saw your blog.

I had really fallen in love with Sukanya Balakrishnan's voice. She looked pretty too. I loved seeing the news and listening to her voice. There is no News reader of her ilk these days.

9:01 PM  
Blogger sharan said...

Where do we google to hear them now ?

6:58 PM  

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