Chai pe charcha

Updated: Feb 16, 2020, 09:17 IST | Prutha Bhosle | Mumbai

A US Consulate staffer launches a chat show that focuses on Indians, who are bringing about positive social change

Nicholas Novak and Vir Das
Nicholas Novak and Vir Das

Before joining the foreign service, Nicholas Novak worked in the radio broadcasting sector in the United States. Recently, when he got the chance to revisit his radio jockey days, he was game. The spokesperson for the US Consulate in Mumbai is set to launch the talk show, Charcha Cast.

"We had an old storage closet that was not used properly. We decided to turn it into a little studio. But we had to figure what to do with it. This was when the idea of starting a talk show came to us," Novak shares. The idea is to highlight interesting people that the Consulate team gets to meet every day and provide them a larger audience. The show will welcome Indians, who have brought about positive social change in the country and premiered on February 14. It will be available on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcast. "A lot of the people we meet are unsung heroes, so we want to sing their song." The first guest was comedian Vir Das. "He talked about the Indian stereotype in films, the cultural shock he experienced when studying in the US, and how he deals with backlash from social commentary that he makes," says Novak.

Forthcoming guests include Nidhi Goyal, an Indian disability and gender rights activist, Jency Jacob of Boom Live, a fact-checking website, and social entrepreneur Elsa D'Silva. "Goyal, who is visually impaired, will talk about how she doesn't like it when people help her with everyday tasks and infantise her. We will play a game with Jacob, where he has to guess fake headlines." Of these, his most enjoyable chat has been with Malhar Kalambe. "We have to keep in mind that as diplomatic staff, we don't just work here, we live here, too. When I take my daughter to Dadar Chowpatty on weekends, I can see what a difference someone like Kalambe is making. He is only 21 and has removed thousands of tonnes of trash from the beach. This is some commitment and activism, and I don't think these voices are getting enough support."

So, is it a breeze to play host, we ask. "Anyone who says it is a breeze is lying. It is a little nerve-racking, but the interesting guests make it easy," Novak says, adding that the 30-minute episodes will be aired fortnightly.

What: Charcha-Cast
When: February 14, 4 pm
Where: mumbai/

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