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SCALING new heights

With more than 15 years experience as a compere, Dr. Sumanth feels the formula for the success of any function is "rehearse and rehearse".


HOBBIES GENERALLY tend to destress oneself from the travails of mundane chores. And nothing like it if a particular hobby, so passionately pursued, turns out to be one's ultimate profession. Like it happened with Sumanth C Raman, who started off as a medical practitioner but is a popular face on Doordarshan's sports programmes today and is also quite a sought after compere who is often sighted on the dais at several Government functions.

For this employee of Tata Consultancy Services, where he works as an Advisor (Health Services), the love for anchoring and compering programmes has unfailingly remained strong. His job commitments never saw his interest wane. Perennially on the look out for a break, he even nurtured his other passions including dabbling in computers and acquiring a thorough knowledge of current affairs.

Modesty is his virtue though Dr.Sumanth can boast of his extensive knowledge on matters related to the internet, website design and development, HTML, ASP etc. He was involved in at every stage while conceiving and designing the health care portal — www.webhealthcentre.com — besides creating unique web-based software products in the healthcare sector for use by doctors and hospitals. Accomplished in medical field, he was invited to present a paper on "use of Information Technology in managing diabetes" in the U.K.

In town to coordinate the launch of telemedicine facility at the Government Rajaji Hospital, Dr.Sumanth shared his varied experiences and struggles for realising his dream.

"As a child I dreamt of becoming a footballer. But my frail frame failed me and I entered the tennis court. But soon I found myself engrossed in the chess board," he recalls his childhood and the typical dilemma of being torn between studies and sports.

Since he was academically bright too, his parents — C.K.Raman and Prema Raman — convinced him to finish his studies seriously before straying into the world of sports.

However, his unabated interest in public speaking, debates and sports quiz forced his parents to take note of his ability and they slowly started supporting him in his efforts. "My mother's moral support was a tremendous encouragement and while I continued with my studies to become a doctor, I never lost track of sports,'' says Dr.Sumanth.

"I made it a habit to follow sports events taking place around the globe. As a keen watcher of games, I started picking up the threads for analysis. My penchant for commentary also grew prompting me to approach the Doordarshan," he walks the memory lane.

And finally his perseverence paid off when in 1987 — after a wait of two years — Doordarshan called him for compering the capsulated programmes of the All India Hockey Tournament organised by the then Madura Coats in Ambassamudram. "I spent much time preparing for the event knowing well my limitations. Though I knew I had to concentrate on my studies as a medical student, I decided to simultaneously go in for my first big assignment," he says.

And as luck would have it, the programme captured the attention of the powers that be who immediately acknowledged the maiden effort of this 20-year-old. It threw up new opportunities for him and from there on, there was no looking back, ever, for this aspiring sports enthusiast.

"Sport is a good relaxation. Though I had to run from pillar to post for data collection I enjoyed it. Times when I was faced with a deadline, the job became more challenging but I retained my sanity to sail through,'' he shares his secret.

In 1996, Dr.Sumanth received the `best anchor' award from the Government for playing the anchor in a documentary titled `Power of the ballot'. It was an interview with the then Chief Election Commissioner T.N.Seshan, which Dr.Sumanth rates as one of his best works.

Yet another `best anchor award' the same year — this time from the Sony-ICD Video Awards — for a documentary on `These leaves never wither', however, is his favourite. He won the coveted title at the competition in Tokyo for South and Southeast Asian region.

To Dr.Sumanth's credit also goes the assignment at the 1995 South Asian Federation Games in Chennai, 1997 Bangalore National Games, 2002 Hyderabad National Games. His is a familiar voice at State Republic Day function. He has regaled audiences in inaugural functions of the Film City, Tidel Park and the World Science Congress in Chennai.

With Dr.Sumanth as the anchor of `Hello Ungaludan' — a TV quiz show — the programme ran for over an year. "I anchored more than 80 episodes. Even housewives participated in this programme which proves the success and reach of the programme," an elated Dr.Sumanth reminds.

With more than 15 years experience as a compere, he feels the formula for the success of any function is "rehearse and rehearse". A perfectionist to the core, Dr.Sumanth does not shy away from criticism either. "Self-introspection is a must. It prunes you and takes you to great heights," he says.

As an anchor for over 850 sports programmes and over 2000 hours of live programming on Doordarshan to boast off, Dr.Sumanth humbles you when he says, he still has a lot to prove.

T.SARAVANAN

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