Tell us about yourself

Courtside views at the NBA (National Basketball Association) games and complete access to players are all a part of Ridhima Pathak’s job description. The leading sportscaster has hosted poker tournaments and even cricket apart from B-ball.

“Welcome to Star Sports, You are onboard!” — the statement changed the life of the very effervescent and charming RIDHIMA PATHAK! Citadel unveils her journey from quitting a well-paid engineering job to becoming the anchor for the biggest of the sports leagues aired on Star Sports! Read on…

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Pleasant, warm and accommodating is how Ridhima Pathak comes across to me. In a tête-à-tête, she opens up on her journey this far. Starting off with a little about herself, she says, “I am the kind of person who lives by the adage, ‘Make every breath count!’ You could relate to me as person who is passionate about everything she does, an individual who is full of energy and most specifically of all; an expressive talker!” That sure is something that doesn’t go unnoticed about Pathak.

Known to be an achiever, it is a lesser-known fact that she was a topper during her engineering days. “Like I mentioned, there is nothing that I pursue half-heartedly! A qualified engineer, I did top the Pune University in the year 2012,” she confirms with sincere humility.

Speaking of her other pursuits, she says, “You could call me a self-employed ‘Television Presenter’ and an ‘Anchor’. Besides, I have hosted several live shows ranging from corporate events, sports to fashion! Apart from this, I also provide consultancy and training to corporates on enhancing public speaking. Likewise, I provide soft skills training for individuals. Moreover, I am also a trained Kathak dancer and have choreographed a few shows as well.  Alongside, I have also worked as a model and as an actor in two commercial films.” Phew! That’s something!

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

Next, I ask her how anchoring happened. She says, “I was 17 when I joined Radio Mirchi as an intern. That’s where I realised that I have a strong voice, which can sell. During my engineering days, I also had the opportunity to represent India in an ‘International Presentation Skills Competition’ held by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) in Sri Lanka. This competition gave me international exposure, something that I shall value for life.”

“Likewise, having proven my academics, post-college, I worked for an American firm. However, I did not quite enjoy my job. It was my quest to pick up my passion and work towards my dream that brought me to anchoring. I harnessed my past experiences and from Ridhima Pathak, I became ‘Anchor, Ridhima Pathak’.”

What thrills you most about presenting for the UBA and NBA?

Well, the fact that I am the only girl presenting both the leagues in the country and the opportunity to gain knowledge about the games and players in India and abroad is very exciting.

What is you greatest strength as a sportscaster?

Definitely, my voice.

Tell us about your career path

Passion is one thing, and making a career out of one’s passion is another. We ask her of that defining moment when she decided to make a career out of anchoring, “After I quit my job, I really didn’t know what I was going to do, and a 9 to 5 desk job was surely not my thing.

That’s when a friend of mine told me that there is a cricket league happening at Poona Club and they were looking for an anchor. I jumped at the opportunity, but was sceptical at the same time, because I had no knowledge about the sport. I was hired, but in my heart I knew that courage and confidence were the only two things I had to offer, that’s where my mom stepped in. A cricket fanatic, she groomed me. During the league, I put in all the effort; brought energy, entertainment and crisp questions to the league. Each day that went by, I learned more about the game and I used my newfound knowledge in my anchoring the next day. The league was an absolute hit and my work was greatly appreciated, and that’s where I realised the gates to my dream career had been thrown wide open,” she says.

For obvious reasons, my next question is about going on board Star Sports! “One day, my Executive Producer at Radio Mirchi gave me a call and said Star Sports is looking for anchors for a show called Star Power. I auditioned but got rejected; that’s where I realised that just being presentable was not enough, and it was a content driven profession. I was persistent and insisted on meeting the talent manager one more time. He suggested that I audition for Hero Hockey India League, as they were looking for anchors too. Since it was the third season of HHIL, there was enough content available on the internet for research. For over a week, I lived hockey and gave the audition one more time, which is when I got selected for HHIL, and thereafter also did the Season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi,” she says.

“After I auditioned for Hero Hockey India League, I was not immediately informed whether I had been selected. I was called for a workshop to Star Sports, where I was taught camera techniques, tricks to enhance speech, to be more expressive and so forth. On the fourth day, the talent manager called me and as I entered the conference room, he said, and I very clearly remember, ‘Welcome to Star Sports, you are on board.’ I was frozen in time with emotions and happiness,” she recalls with her eyes gleaming with happiness.

Few know of your time as a voice-over artist. Tell us one of the most fun experiences of doing voice overs?

Once, I was recording for an advertisement where I had to say the same line in various styles for different clients. I did a no-frills, formal voice for their corporate campaign, after which I was asked to record the same line in a sultry voice for another campaign. It was pretty intense albeit a lot of fun!

As a sportscaster, your job sees you journey a lot. How do you cope with being away from your folks?

It’s true that I am barely home off late. However, travel is one of the parts of my job that I enjoy the most! Of course, I do miss my family, so I make it a point to stop over at home for a brief visit whenever possible. My flat in Pune has been home for a while now and I have my loving roommates to thank for that! (smiles)

How did you develop your skills?

Next, I ask of the research she took up to make the best out of the opportunity that came her way. She says, “Once I was appointed, the enthusiasm and excitement made me probe deeper into the sport and the workshops at Star Sports were really helpful as they groomed me in camera techniques, enhancing speech, body language, creative scripts and the art of asking crisp questions. We had top names like Kapil Dev and Allan Wilkins come and share their experiences. For instance, the talk-back is one of the most essential requirements in live television, as you have to pay attention to the interviewee, as well as the director who gives you directions while the interview is going on live. Kapil Dev’s advice that I should plug in ear-phones and listen to music while I interact with people so that I learn to divide my attention was useful.”

As a person who comes across as someone who values everything that comes her way, it is a given that anchoring on Star Sports is something she would cherish. “I see this opportunity as a life changing experience. It has polished me as an anchor, expanded my ken of knowledge and widened my social network. It’s been a great learning experience!” she says.

Concluding, she says, “I am also taking singing lessons to add a little more entertainment value when I go on board as an anchor. I would like to bring the audience to their feet and have them engaged to get maximum participation! I also follow various sports on television with a view to learn from the other sport anchors and imbibe the tricks of the trade on as to how I can engage the audience on the side-lines by my commentary and presentation, to make the sport more entertaining to watch. As for my current assignment in sports anchoring, content and knowledge is the king, therefore I would only concentrate on the sport itself.” She signs off enthusiastically.

Advice to students?

Sports anchoring is a content driven industry, but to fill up the sidelines with articulate commentary and crisp interviews by a charming, attractive and an intelligent woman adds spice to the entire sports packaging and is much appreciated. It is a field made for women and more women who have a flare for sports and are willing to learn should explore this career opportunity.