RUMBLE FRESH in your mind


If you are an inquisitive student or even a fresher into the world of management what is most likely these days to catch your attention when you are surfing the channels or the Internet? Of course it all depends on your interests but it is unlikely that you would watch a program for any length of time unless it is presented in a breezy and informal style.

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If you are an inquisitive student or even a fresher into the world of management what is most likely these days to catch your attention when you are surfing the channels or the Internet? Of course it all depends on your interests but it is unlikely that you would watch a program for any length of time unless it is presented in a breezy and informal style. Just information will put you sleep within a blink of an eye. It better is presented in an interesting manner. Veteran managers who have attended dozens of conferences and seminars will remember how they used to line up in their seat behind the man in front to escape getting caught sleeping when the speaker at the podium is droning on and on. A man speaking out of personal experience has the edge over an academician. If the speech is laced with humour and full of anecdotes it is bound to stay fresh in your mind even years later.

In their desire to increase viewership we find that Radio and TV programmers have deliberately dumbed down their shows. This is done so that they can cater to even the most intellectually challenged viewer. To further ensure that the viewer does not tune out most programming has shifted to the vernacular. With the world shrinking to become one global village communication becomes the key to success. Many viewers commented that it was refreshing to hear good spoken English. The shows are not scripted nor based on the typical question and answer format so spontaneity and informality is its hallmark.Students may find just listening to the spirited and often humorous conversations stimulating.


Hindi programming has a larger reach than regional languages, but nothing can quite beat the reach of English programs. It goes beyond state and National borders. It can reach your ideas to the whole world. Terrestrial and Satellite TV in India have hundreds of rules and regulations and when the rules insist that programs be politically correct, they can become very boring. The shows feature a wide selection of professionals and laymen talking about his/her work and life experiences and the viewer will find himself entertained and educated at the same time. RUMBLE is the kind of program that falls into the category of Infotainment.

But with TRP’s ruling the roost which media manager would risk out of the box programming? Where are English language programs going to come from?

Two people from Chennai decided to do something about it and are producing English talk shows that go beyond political headlines, Superstars and Filmfare awards. One was Suresh Menon, a post-graduate in aeronautics from IIT-Madras who runs a video production house called Sushma Multimedia. The other was Madhav Das, a former Ship Master and music company executive turned consultant to all and sundry.

Data showed that the bulk of talk shows were in regional languages but their own research told them that there was a huge unmet demand for talk shows in English. To top it all, people from South India were hardly ever featured by the so-called National channels based out of Mumbai and New Delhi. This has resulted in the same professional analysts and faces being seen on TV. It was as if the vast population of the country had nothing insightful to say and that their experiences were not valuable.



They decided to create video content that would also appeal to mature viewers living abroad. Whatever was being seen and heard about India was produced by foreign networks and they looked at us differently. They often missed our unique and often idiosyncratic take on life. But when Suresh and Madhav approached TV channels they came up against a brick wall. Sadly every channel laughed them and their concept out of their air-conditioned corporate offices saying that there was no audience for English programming. Some even said that the audience for the shows would be limited to just the producers themselves!

In spite of such negativity these two were not convinced. After countless cups of coffee and discussions that went late into the night they finally decided to take the plunge and produce the shows themselves. They concluded that if no one would come forward to produce the show they would have to put their money where their mouth was.

"They soon realized that they only needed to identify persons with good domain knowledge and a sense of humour to be able to make interesting talk shows."

Fortunately the world-wide-web gave them an alternative method of delivery. It is free from routine censorship and there is no big brother watching over you. They knew that revenue generation would be a problem but decided to worry about that later. Sushma Multimedia was already a leading producer of documentaries, corporate films, ad films and feature films so cameras, lights, shooting spaces, editing facilities and quality manpower were already available in-house.


They decided to create content by interviewing people who have made a mark in some way. Madhav Das became the host/presenter while Suresh Menon handled the production. They soon realized that they only needed to identify persons with good domain knowledge and a sense of humour to be able to make interesting talk shows. To their great joy they found that there were literally hundreds of both savvy and articulate people out there. Every one of them were eager to share their experiences and in their own way had many startling insights to offer. Once they opened up under some gentle but persistent prodding on RUMBLE most of them turned out to be storehouses of sometimes even esoteric knowledge.

Take Rekhs for example. She is into subtitling Kollywood films in English for an international audience. One would imagine that her experience would not be of any interest to the average student but it turned out to be a fascinating talk. When she turned up at the studios she said that she was normally tongue tied but that she would try. She claimed to be uncomfortable talking on camera but at the end of the session, confessed that she had no idea that she had talked for a solid half hour. She has revolutionary ideas on how to take Indian cinema to the world. According to her the world is just waiting to see our way of film making which mixes high voltage drama and deep emotions.

Prof. Visweswaran, a mathematics professor whose classes after lunch to a bunch of engineering students would have been nothing more than lullabies, turned out to be a massive godown of ideas, innovations and practical, workable suggestions. Listening to him is better than a business management course.


It would do India’s education system tons of good, even if this man was somewhere on the periphery of the decision making bodies.

Research did not pose a problem, as the interviews perforce became research sessions on the fly. The person interviewed explained their concepts in simple language. Each person had become an expert in his own field through personal experience. This ensured that no one was left mystified or talked down to. The producers have an open mind so no topic was considered taboo. The interviewing is more like light-hearted banter as the intention is to keep the lay listener glued to the screen. A show on a larger format is now under consideration.

It was decided to title these short interviews as RUMBLE taking the word from the song ‘Rumble in the Jungle’; a song that commemorated the famous bout between Mohammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire.

From the outset it was decided that RUMBLE should focus more on what people had to say and not on their celebrity status. Thus the first person they experimented with was Rana Bubber. He was a Punjabi born in Lahore in pre-partition days who found himself in Chennai experimenting with various kinds of jobs and ventures to keep his body and soul together. He is presently involved in the real estate business. During this first episode of RUMBLE he opined that only the lady of the family/house should be given ownership in Government sponsored low cost housing as he felt that such a move would spell security for women even against abusive male members of her own family.



The power of the Internet was brought home powerfully by the fact that within minutes of the interview being uploaded on Youtube, Suresh Menon received a message and then a call from an organization in the USA called FEMOCRACY. They requested permission to reproduce and share the program with other like-minded organizations. It seems they were impressed with what was discussed on the show! After that there was no looking back.

"The power of the Internet was brought home powerfully by the fact that within minutes of the interview being uploaded on Youtube"

Since then, RUMBLE has featured many interesting men and women of all ages. A dedicated website is under development. They had been fore warned by well-wishers that only interviews with film stars would get viewership but their experience told them shown something completely different.

When asked what set the show apart from other talk based shows each had their own reasons. Devan Ekambaram who is a well-known playback singer and musician who grew up in the US and now living in Chennai said, “I like the easy format. I could talk to the host on a variety of subjects and not just on music. The fact that the host is a widely traveled man made it a pleasure.”

Vinod Daniel an Australian of Indian descent shuttles between India and Australia and is into heritage conservation. During his interview he hoped that his passion would rub off on the common man in India. He thinks heritage conservation offers huge employment opportunities in India where not much importance is given to ancient monuments.


Dr Raj B. Singh talked about the vastly changed healthcare scene in Tamil Nadu. He reminisced about the time when he used to run a clinic in Kancheepuram district to deal with pulmonary diseases. He says, “With improved care in the districts I finally had to close the clinic. Nobody needed it” Has anybody recognized the huge changes in rural India?

Writer and novelist Vibha Batra wondered aloud about her spiritual connect with Chennai. She did not feel it surprising even though she was born and brought up in Calcutta. She finds publishing houses in Chennai very welcoming to new authors.

Some of the participants like Sudarshan rued the fact that he did not pay more attention to spoken English when in school, but after the interview vowed to master it. “My experience on RUMBLE has convinced me that I must speak English better. I am into controlling piracy on the Internet and good communications is vital in my line of work.”

A sampling of people who have featured on RUMBLE shows an interesting mix. Programs have featured Teachers, Professors, Playback singers, Lawyers, businessmen, Short-film makers, doctors, Psychologists, Musicians, IT professionals, Educationists, Social Media Marketers, Tax Planners, Authors, Racing car drivers, craftsmen, air-hostesses, Event Managers, politicians, photographers, perfumers, designers, students, actresses and many more. Rotarians and Free Masons involved in philanthropy have appeared on the show to discuss their passions.


The program has recently completed its 90th episode and will crack a century soon. It welcomes anybody who has an interesting tale to tell. Suresh Menon and Madhav Das hope that RUMBLE will continue to attract anyone with a curious mind.

The show can be accessed online at or at the YouTube channel at


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Author:  buddingmanagers
Posted On:  Monday, 18 August, 2014 - 11:33

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