Rumana Malik Munmun, popular TV personality, has been with the Spelling Bee team from the beginning of the show and Zunaed Rabbani joined the team from the second season. A very lively conversation with them to get more insight on The Daily Star Spelling Bee, powered by Horlicks:
Munmun, you are a famous host in Bangladesh. How is Spelling Bee different from other shows you host?
Munmun: Spelling Bee is an important part of my life. My usual audience are adults. Through Spelling Bee, I reach kids, who are not really interested in mainstream media, and that's what makes Spelling Bee so different for me.
Zunaed, how do you manage to juggle a full time career and all the shooting and travelling?
Zunaed: Spelling Bee is my first appearance on TV and it's my second season with the show. I try to save up all my annual leave so I can give time to the show. The travelling is hectic for sure, but equally rewarding. Last year, it was very exciting for me as I got to visit districts of Bangladesh I never visited before.
How has Spelling Bee evolved over the years?
Munmun: Bringing an international TV concept and maintaining its standard is very tough in our country. Spelling Bee is a one of its kind show. It works for the betterment of our next generation. And that's why the audience number has been almost doubling over the years.
Is there a lot of preparation involved before every show?
Munmun: My role is to conduct the show on TV, and to make sure the kids' energy levels are high, and they keep their cool. And with such high number of audience, every word of mine leaves an impact on somebody out there. Preparation is vital, so I make no mistakes and inspire everybody who is watching.
Zunaed: We both prepare very hard. Most of the time, I know the correct pronunciation of the words, but people do make silly mistakes. I am a human after all. If I make one mistake a participant who has prepared for so long will not make it to the next round. So making a mistake isn't an option.
Any interesting experience you would like to share with us about Spelling Bee?
Munmun: This is a story from the first season: During a divisional round, we found a sketchbook where a participant drew sketches of us anchors, and left it behind. I still have that sketch.
Zunaed: During shooting, a participant's mom came up to me and said, “We see you and Munmun as our family members, and I say it on behalf of all the mothers present here.” That was very touching; it validated all the efforts of the entire team.
Any advice for those who want to join Spelling Bee next year...
Munmun: Preparation is a must, and they really need to keep a very cool head. It's a competition, but please don't forget to have fun as well.
Zunaed: The first target to get in the TV round. Make a circle of friends to practice with. Time is very important in Spelling Bee, you just don't need to be right but you need to be right on time, and practicing with friends will get you there.
Last words for the Spelling Bee audience?
Munmun: I would love to tell all our audience that the way you have encouraged us and been with us has brought us so far, and we love you all the more for it.
Zunaed: My message would be for the parents. Parents are the unsung heroes of this show. The way you wait all day during the rounds and the shootings is incredible and so kind. I hope more parents encourage their kids to participate in the show.