BW: About your unique name?
My full name is Ophelia Santhaselvi. My dad
wanted to give me a rare name and he chose it
from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
I come from a
normal middle class family. We are all Tamilians.
My dad works as a Traffic Manager in Metropolitan
Transport Corporation and mom works for Bharath
Petroleum and my younger brother is doing his
final year automobile engineering at SRM, Kaattankulathur.
am an out and out Chennai girl, did my schooling
in Holy Angels Convent, T Nagar, graduated in
commerce from Stella Maris and then went on
to do my post graduation in mass communication
and journalism from M O P Vaishnav. I always
talk in a very colloquial manner and my friends
would laugh for whatever I say. I never realized
that this could be a major factor in my career.
In fact this way of talking has turned to my
advantage in Big FM. At BIG FM, people feel
that it is a unique style or slang.
How did you
get this name Imsai Arasi?
My first show
was from 1 to 3 in the afternoon, episode 927
which was satirizing television serials. As
my name sounds English and stylish, people at
Big FM felt that it would not be appropriate
for this show. They thought they can give a
character name. Many mokkai names were considered
like serial sundari, silk sundari etc. I did
not like them because I cannot be always doing
this show and I need to grow in my career. That
was the time when Imsai Arasan was released
and Thenali, one of my fellow RJs suggested
Imsai Arasi which was agreed upon by everyone
as it covered everything from my speaking style
to presentation. However no one expected the
name to have this far reaching effect and that's
why even if the show changed, they have not
changed the character name.
interesting incident in your work
callers talk to us perfectly but the moment
I say that they will be going on air, they start
stuttering and stammering and goof up their
talk. But some people are fantastic. Once we
were doing a show on Washermenpet special wherein
the listener was asked to give a running commentary
on donkey race. He told us that all the RJs
of Big FM are donkeys- me, Thenali, Dheena,
Balaji, Ragasiya Snegidi and Sangeetha. And
we are all in a running race. Dheena was leading
but towards the end I win. When I asked him
how, he answered that there was a signpost saying
'overtaking prohibited' and everyone will follow
rules and I will not. And that is how I won
the race. First when he called us all donkeys,
I felt somewhat but later the style in which
he narrated the incident was nice.
do you handle unsavory comments?
When we do not want to air some comments, we
will add some lines like "Nanga ellam kotti
kidakkara sengal, neenga ellam katti muditha
gopuram" and adjust. But when we get to
hear some real hurting comments, we will answer
them in monosyllables and thank them for their
feedback while assuring them that their opinion
will be taken care and end the call in a polite
gives you the best counter for your talks?
the past two years that I have worked as an
RJ, I find Chennai listeners to be very intelligent
and sharp witted. Some callers are very talented.
Once I came across a caller who was too good
in mimicry that he mimicked a drumming sound.
It was amazing. College students are generally
very jovial with a high sense of humor. They
are very sharp, keep throwing powerful volleys
at you and completely wipe the ground off your
feet. Students from Loyola, Pachiappa's and
Presidency are very good in this.
We have heard that you mimic Vijaykanth. Can
you do it now?
am not good in it. But I can try. I try to mimic
captain Vijaykanth. Sometimes it turns out bad
and we cover it up saying, 'Thank you for listening
to mokkai mimicry' and move on.
close encounter with boys?
out my school life, I was in all girls' schools
and later in Stella which is again a women's
college. In my post graduation, I was too busy
with assignments, projects, internship, reports
etc. In Stella, even traveling to the college
was by ladies special buses. So no big chance
there either. Even in Big FM, there is no Big
hope- Dheena is said to be committed; in Balaji's
house, they have started looking out and Thenali
is too young. So that is the scene.
do you prepare for your shows?
boss would always say that the two hours of
show on air is like a public exam and we write
the exam every day. Show preparation is very
very important. Some people say that preparation
before the show is not necessary. But when we
go on air without preparation, we are bound
to make mistakes, repeat the content and the
show will not be crisp.
Generally we go through all the newspapers and
take the input from there. Television and internet
are also helpful. We take the current event
and give it a different color and present it.
For instance, once it was world Chocolate day
and also the Indian cricket team had lost a
match in the Asia Cup finals. So we had a game
where we had asked the callers what sweet they
would like to offer to the losing team and they
were also asked to give the reason for the same.
One caller had an interesting idea. He said
that he would give a cotton candy to them because
like the cotton candy which looks too big but
once started eating shrinks too fast, the Indian
cricket team also presents an inflated image
but once on the job, they fizzle out so fast.
In a similar vein, one caller wanted to give
laddu to the team and made an interesting connection
between the two. We inform the programming head
and producer about our show and they give some
interesting inputs and make necessary corrections
is the plan for your programs?
My show is called Imsai unlimited from 3 to
5 in the afternoon from Monday to Friday. There
are two segments – Imsai notice board
and Kolly Paapa apart from caller interaction.
In Kolly Paapa, there is a cute character which
would comment on the happenings of Kollywood
in a unique style. For example, super star had
commented during Kuselan launch that after forty
years of age, everyone should avoid the white
things in life viz. salt, sugar, butter, rice,
curds and milk. So Kolly papa had given out
a cute comment in a baby voice saying that if
we avoid all these, then what is left for us
In Imsai notice board, I give out the details
about the happenings like the culturals and
other related events in the city colleges. We
are having two interesting segments. One is
big Imsai Award. We are giving an award to a
person who does the most mokkai in that week.
No nomination or anything like that. It is entirely
our discretion. Accepting or rejecting the award
is left to them but we will give the award anyway.
The other one is Professor Labak Das. For a
change, I am asking serious questions and professor
is giving out mokkai answers.