Oh, the 1990s. The glorious decade of Video Jockeys hosting fast-loved music shows on the two popular music channels in a country that is home to some of the best music makers the world has seen. MTV’s Most Wanted, Bakra and After Hours brought forth Cyrus Broacha, Malaika Arora, Shenaz Treasurywala, Nikhil Chinapa and many others who instantly shot to fame and garnered a rather large (think millions) fan following.
Maria Goretti, Sophiya Haque and Yudhishtir stole hearts with their looks, style and mere presence on-screen, and Juhi Pande set unconventional fashion goals with her crazy hairstyles.
Oh, the time when VJing evoked the extrovert in every young person and had them vowing to follow in the footsteps of the effortlessly perfect celebrity they so idolized!
Back then, the job of a video jockey was regarded as a true profession. A VJ was an important, and sometimes the only, medium of pop culture. They introduced the hottest tunes, budding musicians, new genres of music and often expressed personal opinions about whatever was the in thing at that point of time. They had the power to influence a whole young generation whose teenage years were spent glued to the music channels on the television.
But, at the turn of the century, things began to change.
Music channels grew in number, which simultaneously reduced the number of music shows they aired. There began to appear short soaps and reality shows, with non-stop music videos to fill the gaps. VJs who talked about music, read fan requests and played videos began to disappear from the scene.
The introduction of YouTube sealed the fate of the video jockey. With the availability of free music videos online, anytime and anywhere. VJs came back on screen in the form of reality show hosts and TV presenters. They played no music, had no opinions to talk of about music, and their fan base was of a completely different premise. Their profile as a celebrity names them a Video Jockey, even they know that it’s a tag based on a forgotten art.
Gaelyn Mendonca, who was selected in a nationwide VJ hunt by MTV in 2010, said, “If VJs are hosting reality shows these days, it’s because viewers want to see these shows. But I wish I could’ve been around when iconic VJs took calls and received letters to play music videos.” Gaelyn is now the host of MTV Roadies X4.
Well, we wish for them too. And brings around the question, what are they up to now? Cyrus Broacha is now a TV anchor, hosting a spoof show called The Week That Wasn’t. Shenaz Treasuryvala is a travel and lifestyle blogger, complete with a YouTube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/user/Odomos7) and Instagram handle (@shenaztreasury). Malaika Arora and Yudi the heartthrob have turned to acting in films. Maria Goretti is happily married to Arshad Warsi and hosts a few food shows for NDTV.
All of them were an iconic part of our lives, cherished – and remembered fondly every time we switch to the music channel and see no one handling the changing of the videos!
Here’s an old episode of MTV Bakra, if you’re still lost down memory lane!