Ebi Shankara may be an unfamiliar face now, but things are going to change. Fast. The 29-year-old host of new Ch 5 game show Cash Struck! tells us why he doesn’t want to be the next Gurmit Singh.
Cash Struck! is his first Ch 5 hosting gig.
I went through an audition and that’s how I got the job. I feel quite honoured ’cos, if I’m not wrong, this is the first time an Indian host is hosting a major game show on Ch 5. I studied a lot of different game shows in the past few months, from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to Million Dollar Money Drop, and local shows like We Are Singaporeans and Don’t Forget To Remember. I looked at how the hosts talk the contestants through the rules, how they interact and make them comfortable so that the contestants forget that they’re playing a game.
He wants to be the next Gurmit Singh... okay, not really.
Someone whom I look up to is obviously Gurmit Singh. He’s been there, done that. His experience is immense, and watching him do what he does is a learning experience by itself. That said, I won’t say I want to be the next him. I don’t want to be the next anybody, and I don’t think anybody would want me to be the next them (laughs).
He sees himself as an actor first.
I can’t compare acting with anything else ’cos it will always be very close to my heart. [Ed: Ebi is a theatre arts grad from NAFA and is also the co-artistic director of Tamil theatre company Ravindran Drama Group] I’m drawn to the adrenaline rush of being on stage, and the applause you get at the end. But I like being a host too. I enjoy talking as you can tell. Hosting gives me the platform to just speak and keep going at it. It gives me a chance to interact with a lot of people and I really like that. If anything, I think my experience as a stage actor has helped me become a better host. I have the ease of mind to be able to step up and lead a show without being daunted.
He has no idea what stage fright is.
The stage is the one place I’m most comfortable on. I’ve never experienced stage fright (laughs). But I’m still getting used to becoming a TV show host — having the production team feed pieces of information through a earpiece. It’s like having the voice of God in my ears (laughs).
Cash Struck! airs every Monday, 7.30pm on Ch 5.
PHOTO CREDIT: MARK LEE