RJ | 16 Mar 2009
Radio has become infotainment now. With competition and so many different contests happening, the winner may just get complete dowry at one go. You can vent your feelings on radio, laugh, listen to music, talk and drive .Radio is cheap and you can carry it anywhere. It is one on one and means different things for different people. Nowadays, jocks want to get into production and TV and work out of prime cities.
With the tag line “Bajate Raho” and her bold and brazen attitude RJ Malishka lives up the concept in “Bajaoing” her listeners. From voice overs for Discovery Channel and dubbing for hindi versions of animation films like Tarzan and Jane, Lion King , Hum Hain Lajawab with Shahrukh Khan, and advertisement films like Mango Slice for Katrina Kaif, to radio jockeying for Win FM and now Red FM , winning awards for her on-air skills to hosting a youth show on Bindaas TV, the effervescent RJ says she loves her work.
In conversation with Geetanjali Minhas from exchange4media.
Q. What makes Malishka such a popular RJ?
Shahrukh Khan says to me - ‘Subah Subah kya kha kar Aati Ho? Itni Energy Kahaan Se Aati Hai? I love to talk and really enjoy being on air. I am very honest and say the first thing that comes to my mind and this works for the show. I do believe that I am an intelligent person, though personally I am not very talkative.
Q. What drives your energy and enthusiasm every morning to ready yourself for your show –Morning No.1?
At Red FM 93.5, our tag line “Bajate Raho” is very strong. It expects me not to be politically correct, whack a few people, to say what people are scared to say .This gives me a lot of energy. Our listeners know that that Red FM is expected to be edgy. We give voice to anything and everything that matters, for instance, a political party breaking shops or playing communal card. We constantly push the envelope and that edginess which is very characteristic of the way I present my show.
Q. You were chosen to train Vidya Balan for her role in “Lahe Raho Munnabhai” .How did it feel to have been chosen and how did you go about training her?
Raj Kumar Hirani called me saying Vidhu Vinod Chopra had heard me on my morning show on Win FM. and really liked the way I spoke Gooooooood Morning stressing on Good. He mentioned that they were making a movie and wanted me to train Vidya for a radio jockey’s role. They wanted similar style, yet a bit different. Vidya also happened to be my college mate. So Vidya came out with a Good Mooooorning Mumbai. It was fun training her.
Q. Having done voice overs for movies and commercials, how is radio jockeying different vis a vis the same.
Doing a voice over is a different high whereas on air shows are not scripted and require complete spontaneity. You have to understand what your radio station stands for and what you have to deliver. For the time I am on air I am very sure of what I have to convey .The mike gives me the power to say what I believe is right and the fact that people are listening irrespective of any number of different opinions on the other side. All this is very exciting to me.
Q. How do you engage your spectrum of listeners?
At Red FM our listeners include young working professionals, doctors, CEO’s, school kids, college students as well as taxi, auto rickshaw and regular drivers .Morning show is a wake up show and tells you about what is happening in the city. We take politicians, lawmakers to task and ask for answers as they too want to be heard. During rains we are always whacking questioning to BMC on infrastructure problems. In our ‘Shendi’ segment of the show I do role playing to irritate the person and get a reaction .For e.g. I called a woman who used to wear a lot of diamonds and walk around in the market. So I called her as a Mahila Mandal representative saying that we will be taking out a morcha against her as other women were getting jealous and divorcing their husbands. She panicked and said “How dare you? I will call the police.” All this really moves a person who is driving his car and ends up laughing.
Q. What are the challenges for an RJ? What is the thrilling aspect of the job?
Spontaneously translating your thoughts into words , going on air within 10 seconds of the brief without inhibition, speaking as creatively as possible is not very easy and comes with time .An RJ has to constantly innovate, reinvent and must identify a good show from a bad one. What you talk, how you talk, what you present, how you interact and how you play ground with your listener all comes into play.
Q. How has radio and RJing changed over the years?
Radio had become infotainment now. With competition and so many different contests happening, the winner may just get complete dowry at one go. You can vent your feelings on radio, laugh, listen to music, talk and drive .Radio is cheap and you can carry it anywhere. It is one on one and means different things for different people. Nowadays, jocks want to get into production and TV and work out of prime cities .Training schools to teach the craft, editing and mixing have opened up. New jocks coming in have already heard other jocks whereas when we started; we had no one to learn from.
Q. How do you handle pesky callers?
An RJ’s popularity is completely attributed to their listeners. You cannot be rude and have to be as real as possible. With love, care and affection and healthy respect over the years we have become friends and I take their help when I need and can bank on them. Every profession has its own critics and supporters and you cannot ignore either.
Q. How do you see yourself growing from here?
Radio is not a visual treat. As long as you keep your listeners entertained, reinvent and nurture your craft and build a brand for yourself like some legendary RJ’s from abroad who have for years and years build their own brands and taken radio to places, there is no stopping. I have taken a step into television with ‘Bindaas Live’ a live youth show on Bindaas channel. I enjoy writing and am keen on entering Bollywood.
Q. What is your success mantra?
Having won eight awards in radio, I believe it is very important never to let success or failures go to your head. It is important to have your head on your shoulders and not to rest on your laurels.