Balaji Patturaj, famous as RJ Balaji, is an Indian radio jockey, comedian, presenter, and actor. Radio listeners swoon over his voice. His sense of humour and timing with jokes never cease to amuse people. His smooth talking is an antidote to get away from the mundane daily lifestyle and has never failed to lighten up people’s lives. A man of many talents, Balaji Patturaj, or as popularly known as RJ Balaji to his fans, apart from being a very successful radio jockey, has also tried his hands into acting and has done considerably well there as well. He is also a presenter and is often seen at several inter-school cultural programs. There is more to this man than meets the eye. He has always taken stands on various social causes and has never stepped back from providing help. His contribution to the victims of the 2015 South Indian Floods is well-known.
Childhood & Early Life
RJ Balaji was born on June 20, 1985 in Chennai and is the eldest brother to four of his siblings-one younger brother and three younger sisters.
His family was abandoned by his father for reasons still unknown. This took a toll on the family and his mother could barely settle down at any place for a long time and hence, the family kept on moving from Perambur to Thiruvanmiyur to Mylapore and several other places.
The impact of this hippie lifestyle affected Balaji’s education immensely. It was admitted by him in an interview that throughout his childhood he had stayed at 19 different places, and changed 11 schools and 24 houses.
He could not pass his 12th grade in the first attempt and had to reappear. It was only after he completed his B.Sc in computer science from the Kumararani Meena Muthiah College of Arts in 2006 that he realized that his strength was in interaction with people. So he went ahead and pursued a post graduate diploma course in Journalism from Amrita School of Communication in Coimbatore.
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The start to his present career was rather haphazard. Initially, he joined NDTV and after being asked to prepare a report, he prepared the same with 47 grammatical mistakes out of the 56 words. That English Journalism was not his cup of tea was crystal clear to him after that.
He was still pursuing his journalism course when an advertisement in Radio Mirchi for a radio jockey grabbed his attention. Needless to say, he got through the job in the latter half of 2006 and thus began the journey of RJ Balaji.
His stepping stone in to the world of radio jockey was with a three hour morning drive show named ‘Hello Coimbatore’ where he spoke in about several social issues. He left the show after four years when he could no longer bear the all day serious talk show and returned to Chennai to his family and friends.
He then joined BIG FM 92.7 where he was lured with the freedom of designing and planning a four hour time slot all by himself, which he called ‘Take it easy’. ‘Take it easy’ shot him to fame in no time. Here, he helped the radio lovers to relax with his gibberish talk and escape the busy hectic everyday schedule.
He introduced a new segment in his show called ‘Cross Talk’. This show was about making prank calls to random people nominated by their friends, family, colleagues or neighbors. It was a big hit among the youth. Several clips of the show, when uploaded on SoundCloud, went viral. It got millions of views on its very first week from not only India but also from United States, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Germany, Singapore and Seychelles.
Balaji went on to win the 2012 RJ of the Year (Tamil) and Best Program Broadcast after 11am (Tamil) awards for ‘Take it Easy’ at the Indian Excellence in Radio Awards.
He also ran a segment named ‘120 Rs’ that reviewed Tamil movies but it came to a halt after he was hit with huge criticism from the Tamil film Industry. Later, Balaji discontinued ‘Cross Talk’ as a result of the death of the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha. Later, he created a YouTube channel named ‘Panjumittai Productions’ where he voiced for various contemporary issues through short video clippings.
A master of many trades, RJ Balaji is also a presenter who is often seen at various cultural events in different schools and colleges. In March 2012, he performed at Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering's annual cultural festival ‘Instincts’. He was also invited to perform at the fourth anniversary celebrations of Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi's magazine ‘Inbox 1305’ in the August of the same year.
The world of cinema and television has also witnessed the brilliance of Balaji. He made his debut with the film ‘Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru’ and was seen doing a cameo in ‘Ethir Neechal’ and a voice over in ‘Puthagam’ in the year 2013.
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His appearance in the movie ‘Naanum Rowdydhaan’ won him the best comedian award in the SIIMA Awards. He has shown his acting skills beautifully in movies like ‘Vadacurry’, ‘Idhu Enna Maayam’, ‘Yatchan’ and Devi to name a few.
He was also seen as the host of Star Vijay's dance show ‘Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhu Dheva’ in its second season. He proved his charm once again in Zee Tamizh's reality television show ‘Why This Kolaveri’ which was a loose adaptation of the American reality show, ‘Killer Karaoke’.
In order to create a sense of identity for villages and circulate village-specific information among the masses, Balaji took part in "Namma Ooru Website Creation Competition", a joint initiative by IIT Madras’ Rural Technology and Business Incubator and the National Internet Exchange of India in December 2011.
On the 375th anniversary of Chennai, he gave an intro in "The Madras Song".
He played as an all-rounder in the 2015 edition of the Celebrity Cricket League playing for his home team Chennai Rhinos.
He was also a speaker at the first edition of TEDx Mylapore in May 2015.
He was awarded the CNN-News18 Indian of the Year award in the category of "Public Service" for his humanitarian role at the time of 2015 South Indian floods.
Although he is known to be a funny, loud lad on air, in real life Balaji is a shy, soft spoken person. He claims to have got his sense of humour from his mother who he considers the funniest person ever.
Balaji got married at a young age of 21. He is the father of a son, Manath, who was born in 2012.