Show Cause

Gurmeet Sodhi based in Long Island,New York,is keeping her fingers crossed even as she checks her website obsessively every few hours.

Written by Debesh Banerjee | Published: July 19, 2010 5:04:05 am

NRI Gurmeet Sodhi is hoping to make the cut and become the next Oprah Winfrey

Gurmeet Sodhi based in Long Island,New York,is keeping her fingers crossed even as she checks her website obsessively every few hours. In about a week from now,the Indian talk show host could have the privilege of hosting a show on Oprah Winfrey Network’s Your Own Show. The lifestyle-based talk show,which has been sifting through a worldwide submission of 15,000 entries (online and personal casting) for the past three weeks in search of the ideal host,has rated Sodhi among the top contenders.

“Oprah is one of America’s most popular women and it would be a great opportunity and honour for a woman from the South-Asian community to be able to host a show on her network. This is a huge platform which I don’t want to miss,” gushes Sodhi,when we catch up with her over a telephonic conversation from New York.

The 35-year-old financial analyst who manages her own finance firm,Executive Financing Group in NY,has in recent times become something of an ‘Indian Oprah’ among the South-Asian community in the US,thanks to her weekly talk show—Gup Shup with GS or GS with GS—which was launched last year on the Just Punjabi network in the US. For Your Own Show,Sodhi is ranked at 124 according to popularity polls. Even though there are several other South-Asian contestants ranked higher than her,Sodhi,the only Indian in the list,says she has more than a fighting chance to clinch it. “I have more exposure as a talk show host and a greater resonance among the South Asian community in the US and the world,” she quips.

Sodhi moved to New York from Mhow,Madhya Pradesh,in 1989,after her father landed a job in an electronics company. She was 12 then. After completing her high school from New York,she took up a part time job at a dry cleaners to supplement her parents’ income and pursued correspondence courses in finance before bagging an entry level job with a financial consultancy. “My clients could not digest the fact that a woman was advising them on money matters,” she says. It was around the same time that she got her first talk show on finances and real estate on a South-Asian channel,which she went on to host for eight years.

Her interest in people had always been there,leading her eventually to GS with GS. Having suffered discriminations herself,Sodhi says she is more sensitised to other people’s troubles. “Having felt the ramifications of the 1984 Sikh riots in Madhya Pradesh,I regard my roots and religion as my greatest strengths,” she says. It is an attribute that she says she has passed down to her teenaged daughter and two sons. “In high school,I was discriminated against because of my religion. But I was too meek to protest. I have taught my children to speak up against any wrongs done to them or to others,” she adds. While preparing her three-minute audition clip titled ‘Sincerely G’ for Oprah’s show,Sodhi says she highlighted these aspects of her personality.

Her own show GS with GS,which discusses community issues,has completed 52 episodes. But right now it’s her personal website which has her undivided attention. Sodhi keeps logging in every few hours to check on the number of votes she has garnered. “This show is very important to me not just as an individual,but as a member of my community. The win will make me the first Sikh woman to host a show in the US and also show people that one’s background is irrelevant,” she says.

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