Is he an underwear salesman or just insane?
Ever since MTV happened to me , the girls don't leave me alone !!!"
THE VJ VIRUS CYRUS
If you are in Mumbai Check out the Play Unfaithful Featuring Cyrus
Stars in the Latest Pepsi Ad this guy has come a long way with his new
trend of body tatoos and giving complex answers to simple questions.
Meet The MTV veejay with the coolest show in town.
has gone bankrupt, needs some money. For a wardrobe that is.
Not a new wardrobe, any wardrobe.This is no idle thought.
You know him, he's the deranged, wacky,live wire, who invades
your lives everyday via the small screen on MTV. He is now here to
blow your mind off with the only campus show 'MTV U', where he
samples College & University life all around India. Cyrus also hosts
the exclusive to India magazine show 'Made in India'.
This MTV VJ, harbouring under delusions of being grown up,
is definately not your average dude. A lively down to earth,
wacky presenter Cyrus brings charm and freshness to his shows.
Already a prominent theatre and radio personality, in Mumbai
before MTV, Cyrus made his acting debut at the 'tender' age of 14
in Neil Simon's 'Brighton Memoirs'(because as he says every one
else auditioning was over 20 !!).
Graduating from St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, Cyrus went to the
Lee Strassburg Acting Studio, New York for theatre related acting.
A prolific actor, Cyrus has done numerous commercials and television
serials and has also scripted, co-scripted and directed
A typical Leo, Cyrus displays all its characteristics, dynamic personality,
easy charm and a great sense of humour, which he puts to full use
charming the opposite sex!!
A music buff, he loves kicking back to the sounds of Elvis, The Beatles
Is the man a model, a door-to-door underwear salesman, just
simply insane? Actually, in the biggest modern-day miracle since
Rabri Devi became chief minister, he's the MTV veejay with
possibly the coolest show in town.
Across the college campuses of India -- 35 so far -- this fast-talking,
joke-inventing, moving violationwho receives a couple of hundred
letters a week is becoming a burgeoning star with his college show
called MTV U.
Says Bhrigupathi Singh of StStephen's College: "He's one of us.
He uses the same language, has a wacky sense of humour and we can
identify with him."
And modern-day miracle it is because the 25-year-old actor --
who also hosts MTV U,MTV Made in India, writes a column for Mid Day
and hosts two radio shows where he gets proposals from gay men --
fits no established veejay norm. He doesn't sound like a dead man
talking (Luke Kenny), doesn't look like an advertisement for "people
against the use of soap" (Danny McGill), hasn't developed a cleavage
yet (Kamal Sidhu), and doesn't speak with an accent that has no
geographical location (Raageshwari).
What he is, is funny. Veejays can lean towards stiffness, pretension,
resembling wind-up wax works from Madame Tussaud's; they are
rarely funny. Only Jaaved Jaaferi is, but
Cyrus' usp, his Unique Silly Proposition, is that he is funny in
English. In an Indian world of Hindi slapstick, of Hinglish havoc,
of Yes, Prime Minister British comedy, he is an Indian with an
English funny bone who can't stop talking.
As Channel V's Shashank Ghosh puts it, "I can't understand
a word of what Cyrus says and yet hecomes across as funny."
Adds Mohammed Ali, head of programming at Radio Star:
"He can give any line a funny twist."Cyrus is quick, a mouth like
a typewriter at high speed, and a brain that's clattering as fast.
"I want to marry a wealthy, intelligent guy," says a College of Art girl.
"Dollars and sense?" retorts Cyrus.
As Ghosh says, "He may talk gibberish but he does it with total control."
Add to that a lack of self-consciousness
(would you walk Delhi in your underwear?), being a hazard to
good taste (his Uncle Kesi's nose hair is a favourite topic), and a
fondness for the bizarre (jumping off the 5m diving board at AIIMS
15 times to get the right shot) and he is
perfect for MTV U.
It is never easy, for it is a show on the road, no studio for unlimited
takes, no teleprompter,and it demands an ability to talk a
foreign language which is what teenagers speak. Cyrus has made
that leap well.
"He's better than the other veejays because he doesn't have
an attitude hang-up and doesn't try too hard," says Manvi Verma
of Miranda House, Delhi.
Adds Arpan Mukhopadhyay of the College of Art:
"Other veejays, anyone can take their place, but MTV U without
Cyrus won't be the same."
Now in its 35th week, Cyrus' appeal can be judged by the
ultimate compliment : rival Channel V, having stolen a member of the
original MTV U crew, has started a sort of lookalike show called
Rexona Deo Out-there.
Life for Cyrus was an ongoing talk show. Born into a half-Parsi
(father Farokh), half-Catholic (mother Olivia) family, he
assumed the reputation of a menace with a machine-gun mouth.
Now he chortles, thinking, "People used to say, shut up, shut up,
you talk too much. Hah, now I'm making money talking.
" What is striking is that his mobile face, impeccable timing,
make him seem like an actor playing a veejay in a street play.
It is exactly what he is.
From age 14, when he debuted in Brighton Beach Memoirs on the
Mumbai stage, theatre has been his heroin. As he puts it,
"When I went for the audition , I opened thedoor and looked and
no one was there. Then I looked down and there was
Pearl (Padamsee), all 4ft 4 inches of her." An affair was on.
Says director Hosi Vasunia who was doing the casting with Padamsee:
"His comic timing and humour are instinctive, not
Struggling through St Xavier's College, Mumbai, he was the very
portrait of a dilettante.
He started a call-in chat show on radio in 1993, pursued theatre,
put a foot in cinema as a drug addict in Jalwa --
"I got to hug Archana Puran Singh's breasts a few times" --
flirted with a law career and even "spent a lot of time sitting
outside advertising agencies, thrilled no one called me for an interview".
And as the comic read Oscar Wilde, Khushwant Singh --
"I always carry his joke books and I'm not talking about Train to
Pakistan" -- and Art Buchwald, the actor in him journeyed to New York
to study at the famed Lee Strassberg acting school. When he
returned, he was ready for MTV U. Yet Cyrus -- and he does
appear like some modern version of the lunatic Don Quixote -- is in a
way tilting at windmills.
Humour is a creative business, a form that must have no barriers.
Not in India. Here the dimensions of comedy lie largely unexplored,
Hindi film humour is confined to falling down, silly slapstick,
the film comedian a buffoon. One-liners, parody, sarcasm,
Woody Allen-ish Jewish jokes, have rarely worked: they are too
sophisticated. More than that, the thin-skinned Indian,
uncomfortable with laughing at himself, has defined too many areas --
politics and religion to start with -- as inappropriate for comedy.
It annoys and restricts Cyrus. Yet, if his humour falls flat
occasionally -- sometimes he is not funny, sometimes his audience can't
find the joke -- he rails on.It also means that Cyrus' journey into
becoming a full-fledged phenomenon is fraught with uncertainty.
As he says:-
"Families are more comfortable with Jaaved. My mother asks,
'What is he talking about'." But all that, in a way, could become incidental.
By just standing up and being funny, by doing it in express- train English,
by taking a show into colleges, which has never been done before,
he has enlarged the boundaries of music television entertainment.
In that sense, he's unique: the pioneer in underpants.