VOICE OF A COMMENTATOR
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Golden voice of a commentator makes him famous across the Media world. It is the voice that carries the personality of a commentator from the box to the listeners of the good old days of the realm of the Radio. Indeed the advent of the Television made some difference as the viewer had the ring side view carried to him through the cameras. It is the camera that carries the picture from the spot to the viewers’ room, may be a sitting room, a dining room or even a bedroom. The electronic media enters the sleeping room breaking the privacy of the family with the consent of the couple whose privacy is invaded.
REALM OF THE RADIO
It is the personality of a radio commentator that matters most in making a word picture of the happenings of the Spot that is in focus. Indeed it is the voice of the commentator concerned that matters most in playing the game of doing a running commentary. If the voice is attractive, a listener stays put. On the contrary, if the voice is nowhere near the optimum level, a listener has the liberty to use his discretion of switching off the radio receiving set. If the mouth to mouth anti- publicity gains momentum, the commentator in question may be deemed to have met his or her Waterloo. A failure to get an invitation to be at the Mike for an event of national importance is akin to being exiled to St Helena like Napoleon Bonaparte.
A radio commentator was encouraged by the radio station director to keep on talking in an interesting manner lest the listener thought that his radio set had developed a problem. Indeed, talking sense was of relevance and utmost importance that kept a listener glued to his radio set. The matter and manner of talking had to be of interest to the men and women for whom the broadcast was intended to be. Style is the Man. What he talks and how he talks are of utmost importance from listeners’ angle. Boredom has no room therein and if boredom makes a surreptitious entry, it may cause a listener to yawn and eventually shut his eyes and ears both. That indeed will sound the death knell of the commentator in question.
QUALITY OF VOICE
Pray, it is the quality of voice of a commentator that makes a world of difference to the quality of the commentary. Let us crack the nut and decipher what all make a voice click. Your Voice is indeed your voice and you have to make it resonant to attract even an unwilling person to feel drawn to the radio set and find out what is going on at the spot of action. It a commentator’s voice induces sleep, pray, he or she should make room for another fellow before getting a red slip from the station director advising him to look for another radio station where there is a requirement for a commentator who excels in putting people suffering from insomnia to sleep in a jiffy.
What should a greenhorn in the field do to escape the chop? Let us begin at the beginning. Take a deep breath and expand the capacity of your lungs to talk for a long time and talk sense. It is the road that leads one to Pranayam. Pranayam does a lot to improve the quality of voice. It keeps a practitioner free from cough and common cold. It expands the capacity of a practitioner to think with clarity because Pranayam puts the required quality and quantity of Oxygen in the lungs. There is no denying the fact that good quality oxygen in lungs is like a magic wand that opens all doors to success in the realm of doing a running commentary. It need not be emphasised that Pranayam should be practised in a clean, quiet corner of a lush green garden. A spot near a crossroads where vehicles of sorts move around at a break neck speed emitting foul air – carbon dioxide to be precise, blowing horn at random causing double pollution of air and sound will never be chosen by a sane person to sit in a cross-legged posture to inhale and exhale. Indeed doing so will be suicidal.
The Sanskrit word Pranayam may be translated as control of the life giving breath. It is also referred to as Pran-Yayu or the air that keeps one alive. When a practitioner has mastered a good control on the Pran-Yayu, inhales and exhales in the prescribed manner, the process indeed makes the practitioner healthy and happy. There is no procedural bugbear to scare away an uninitiated man or woman from practising Pranayam. If a greenhorn Guru does that, he is merely harming the cause of Pranayam which is a part of the Maharishi’s Ashtang Yoga. Pranayam is a simple procedure of control of breath and does no harm in any way.
Swami Ramdev of the Patanjali Ashram, Haridwar, Uttarakhand is a pioneer in the field of Pranayam by laying an emphasis on the Anulom-Vilom – just inhale and exhale without holding breath in the lungs, thus making the process as simple as possible. No wonder, he is the most popular exponent of the Art and Science of Pranayam in modern times. May I urge various Gurus of different schools of Pranayam to keep complications at length and embrace simplicity to include common man in the realm of Pranayam so that more and more commentators come forward to enrich the Art of Doing Running Commentary.
EAT HEALTHY THINK HEALTHY
A man is what he eats. A man is what he thinks. There is a close correlation between one’s diet and one’s thought process. It has a direct bearing on the capacity of a commentator to do good commentary and gain recognition or just pronounce a few words in a haphazard manner and go bust. Well, the choice is yours. Eat right stuff, think the right way and never run away from a difficult situation. A good commentator to be must develop self- confidence to fathom the depth of a problem and find amicable solution. If one is called upon to do a running commentary at a short notice, the challenging assignment should be accepted and goods delivered. Do not run away from a battle but fight with determination to win. In this life one fights a battle a day, may be more than one battle every day. Never say – Die.
To enable you to win your diet should give you energy and not tie you down to your bed or chair to rest after heavy meals that will prove to be unhealthy. Green vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, leafy diet and absence of red meat go a long way in developing a commentator’s body and mind. Fresh fish thrown in does no harm. A survey in the field of diet recommends what is written here. Of course, the same diet with fish make the Japanese and Mediterranean diet healthy to make a man happy. Of course, one should eat to live and not live to eat.
One should read good books that do not pollute the mind. Like putrid food throws the digestive system out of gear, bad literature pollutes the thought process and weans away health promoting elements. Of course, I shall dwell on the subject in detail in later chapters but suffice it to say that read what enriches your personality as a commentator.
HOT AND COLD
An aspiring commentator who wishes to have a golden voice must ensure that he does not drink cold stuff immediately after having a hot drink. Alcohol must be avoided lest it damages your sound box. Warm water should be sipped every now and then to improve the quality of voice. One would do well to keep a glass of like warm water handy while doing a running commentary. It helps tremendously. By the way, one should keep a tab on one’s bladder too lest one is required to knock at the washroom door midway while doing a long commentary. Leaving the commentator’s box midway would be grossly out of etiquette.
Never shout or scream while describing a situation as it might hurt your sound box. Choose appropriate words to convey the situation on the spot. A little rise and fall in the level of the voice is indeed permissible but do not do what a rabble- rouser does.
When a commentator is at the mike, he is the monarch of all he surveys. Yogeshwar Shri Krishna had counselled Arjuna the archer to “ Fight with Determination”, likewise I shall advise my young friends, the budding commentators to do the running commentary with gusto and develope a Will to Win.