BizAsiaLive.com caught up with model and actress, Mona Kiren, who joined ZEE Network UK’s ‘Jukebox Live’. Kiren is one of four presenters taking the show forward in its new weeknight slot on Zing. She joins the broadcasting giant after venturing into films and fashion.
You’ve recently joined Zing UK for ‘Jukebox Live’, how did you land this project?
Gunjan Hazarika, who is the head of production for ‘Jukebox Live’ is a colleague and dear friend of mine who I have known for years and been fortunate enough to work with on several occasions for promos, ads and TV programmes. When him and the team were looking for new presenters for this show he approached me for this opportunity as he had experience working with me and also knew that I had previously already presented live shows. I am very grateful he thought of me and delighted to now be part of the Jukebox family.
You’ve shifted from acting into hosting on Zing UK, how has the crossover been for you?
Actually, I have not shifted as such as I still do act. This show is a Monday to Friday show with four presenters each hosting one day so there is plenty of time for me to still keep working on acting projects. In fact I have just completed an experimental short film directed by Sakett Sawney, Ek Omkar Films from Mumbai and have something lined up for the new year which I cannot reveal too much about as of now.
As I studied both Film and Television, both forms of media are a passion of mine and so I am very happy working in both fields simultaneously as a lot of actors do nowadays just thinking of Salman Khan with ‘Bigg Boss’ or even Big B with ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. The life of an actor is very unpredictable and we have no set hours or routines so it is nice to have one ongoing project with some continuity. It feels very grounding.
Have you found the transition into live television oppose to recorded television shows a worthwhile experience so far?
Anchoring on live television is one of the hardest skills to master as it requires for one to be spontaneous and flexible and not thrown off by getting different instructions by earpiece whilst also keeping in mind what to say to the audience and the overall flow of the show. It is all about fast paced and acting on your feet. There is a certain adrenaline attached to it but I really enjoy embracing challenges. As I had previously hosted a live show for ZEE India where I also had to speak a lot more Hindi, this has not been totally new to me so I eased into it nicely. The best part about live is the interaction with the audiences and the buzz that comes with this. Hearing them excited to be connected to the studio or to be requesting a song of their all time favourite star is very special and it feels nice make someones day special in this way.
The show used to air previously during a late afternoon slot but recently switched to an early primetime slot, is this a good move considering competition at the same time from mainstream channels soaps?
In my opinion this has been an excellent move for us. I do not necessarily believe we have direct competition with the soap viewers as much as our audiences are more into films and music and especially Bollywood music so I do believe they are a different audience to a certain extend. Also our format being live and interactive makes it a different experience altogether. I would be more worried about the competition if we were also another soap competing with the very established ones out there. My experience has also been that since we switched the time we sometimes have so many callers that it is almost difficult to accommodate them all in one show so the response has been amazing so far. People who are working and especially the ones commuting are now able to join our Jukebox fun when earlier they could not be part of it.
Your sharing your presenting duties with three other presenters, how have you gelled in with the rest of the team?
As we all present on different days I am yet to meet some of them in person but we have all connected on social media and been sending each other kind wishes which feels very comforting and gives the sense of a beautiful team spirit. Everyone is so passionate about the production that we do not really see each other as competition but rather a team full of contributors to the shows overall success.
I have met Ateesh Randev as I was a guest in one of his shows and so he briefed me about a lot of elements to help me understand the format and how to prepare myself for each show. He has been a real gem in showing his support and in making me feel extremely welcome in the team. I had worked with Ateesh previously as well as I was an item girl in a song of a movie he starred in so it was nice to see him again and work together yet again so many years later.
What memorable moments have you had so far on-air on ‘Jukebox Live’?
Some of the most memorable moments have been when the callers actually start singing a line from one of their favourite songs and we start singing together. It really shows how happy they are to share an experience with us and connect to us and that feels truly special.
The best part about live is the interaction with the audiences and the buzz that comes with this. Hearing them excited to be connected to the studio or to be requesting a song of their all time favourite star is very special and it feels nice make someones day special in this way.
The experimental short film (mentioned earlier) “Revolver” is due to release in the new year and there may be another movie project which I cannot give too much away about at this stage
In the past, you’ve worked as a model and taken part in several pageants, tell us about these?
My career actually started at the age of 17 when I was selected to be part of the Miss India Germany pageant. As I was under the legal age it was not possible for me to win however I became one of the finalists and won a title of “Miss Beautiful Hair”. That event was my entry into the world of media and entertainment followed by a work experience at ZEE TV and working for the famous ZEE Carnival backstage whilst still studying Film and TV. 2 years later, I was then selected to represent Germany at the Miss India Worldwide pageant in Mumbai and yet again one another title as “Miss Congeniality”. The pageants were great experiences in getting to know young, beautiful, talented and intelligent Indian women from all over the world sharing the same heritage. The pageants have also been integral in teaching me public speech, how to walk, talk and look on stage and how to groom your looks to achieve looking your absolute best.
Other than television, what else have you got planned in your acting and modelling work?
I recently filmed an online commercial for a famous anti perspirant brand and just modelled for the Mayfair Skin Clinic where I will be featured on all their promotional materials. I also just finished a photoshoot for the Indian PACHOOLI fashion line and am featuring on their Instagram profile and latest campaign alongside my sister Dinah Singh.
The experimental short film (mentioned earlier) “Revolver” is due to release in the new year and there may be another movie project which I cannot give too much away about at this stage. I also recently signed with a PR agency who have been writing bi-monthly newsletters so we welcome anyone who is interested in keeping up with what is happening in Mona Kiren’s world to sign up. This can be done by connecting with me on social media or via my website www.monakiren.com. My social media accounts, especially Instagram is also a way of getting the most regular and up to date updates.
Finally I would like to thank you for featuring me in your prestigious BizAsia platform and my love goes out to all the readers and all my audiences and fellow artists.
Creativity comes from the soul and finds a way to express itself always and in different ways and forms. Life is about the journey and enjoying the ride not about the destination as the destination evolves as we evolve…