Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, September 12
Balwinder Singh Vicky, better known as ‘Chacha Raunki Ram’, a Doordarshan Punjabi comedy character, is currently keeping his art alive by writing poetries and sketches.
His profession basically was that of spreading love and laughter in the early ’90s. Already a known face, working for seven years as announcer in Akashwani, he joined the channel in 1988 as programme executive; his comedy sketch made him an overnight star.
People who are aware of the show are sure to recall his satirical display in which he would raise several social issues and connect with the locals. Even today, many from the industry and viewers fondly address him as his famed role. He says, “Though I performed several characters in professional career, ‘Chacha Raunki Ram’, a rustic character evoked humour and is something I remember even now.” He had written over 6,000 scripts before finalising the character and more work was put in to make the character realistic. “Owing to its popularity, people thought the character was real and used to send their problems related to civic issues to my house so that I could highlight them,” he adds.
After voluntarily retiring from Doordarshan in 2006, he continued getting fame through Punjabi cinema. In his second innings, he acted in films like Haani (2013), Young Malang (2013), Ishq Garrari (2013) etc. He remained the most versatile artist of Punjab for years and his comedy plays, skits, features have been a huge hit. To add more sparkle, he has mentored noted comedy king Kapil Sharma during his college days among other artists.
His comedy sketches and plays have kept audience entertained for almost four decades, but only a handful know that he was a singer and a cricket player as well and was the captain of his college cricket team. Under his captaincy, the team also lifted the district championship trophy during 1970s.
Recalling his college days, he shares, “I started acting when I was 22 and mostly played the characters of old men. However, the turning point happened when I was mimicking my college principal, who after catching me red-handed making fun of his dialect, declared me as his tape recorder!”
Instead of scolding him, the principal supported and asked to mimic him in front of the whole college in a play called ‘Tai Da Sudhaar’. “Since then there has been no looking back and I continued my stage journey with several plays and skits. With the motivation of my teachers Dr DB Rai and Gulshan, I was adjudged as the best actor for three years and consequently lifted national and state-level trophies,” the 60-year-old tells.
After his graduation he would work in oil mills, rubber industries and as reception officer in Punjab Tourism Development Corporation. In 1979, when Akashwani was launched here, he auditioned and was selected. “I also remained a commentator for several cricket matches, including international clashes. At Akashwani, I used to cover rural sports and created awareness regarding it,” he tells.
“I am grateful to my parents, Jaswant Kaur and Suchet Singh, who gave me freedom to choose my own path,” the ‘Chacha’ adds. He is a resident of Master Tara Singh Nagar.