Her effervescent voice wakes up Mumbai every morning. Meet RJ Malishka or Malishka as she prefers to be addressed. Her show Morning No.1 on Red FM is an addiction for many in Mumbai. Malishka has been an RJ for eight years and says she has enjoyed every bit of her time on air.
In a brief chat, Malishka speaks about the power she yields over the city of Mumbai and her thoughts on entrepreneurship. She is as friendly and talkative in real life as she is on air.
Young and confused
The elder of two sisters, Malishka says she remembers having a lot of fun in childhood. “I always wanted to be on stage. So I would round up the neighbourhood children, we would dress up and perform skits or sing songs. In school I would wait for Children’s Day or Teacher’s Day to be on stage. Though I can’t say I was very confident back then, but yes I did not suffer from stage fright,” she confides.
Malishka had decided to be in the media very early in life. She was open to being an actor, performer or a journalist. “I don’t think this decision came from smartness, it was plain panic,” says Malishka candidly. She lost her father very early and being the eldest child the sense of responsibility hit her early. She worked as an intern with ad maker Prahlad Kakkar while she was in college, but once her internship ended she was not sure which way to go.
Around the same time private radio stations were making a come back, and Red FM was conducting auditions. Malishka gave the audition, landed the job and rest is history. “I feel success is also about being at the right place at the right time and being blessed,” she says.
Malishka admits she is not sure if radio hadn’t happened what she would have done. “It is not every day that you can find a niche and excel. At times, I am surprised at myself. No one imagined I would be an RJ, but that is what I am and I love what I do,” she says.
In her show, Malishka picks up current topics that people are eager to discuss. “Once I tried to figure out who my target audience was. My team came back to me and said your spectrum is like 360-degrees. It is because my show’s content is meant for everyone. Maybe the language I use is of the masses, but the classes equally enjoy it. I have never held myself back,” says Malishka.
She lists the interviews she does with film star Akshay Kumar (she was not a fan earlier but is now great friends with him) as one of her top three favourite things to do on her show. She also enjoys calling up politicians and local municipal corporation leaders to demand accountability.
Keeping content fresh at all times is a critical task and Malishka credits her team for their unwavering support. “Anything I do on air is never a one-person effort. I may execute it, but there is an entire team lending support to what I do. We work the whole day to put together something nice and different for our listeners,” she explains.
Among the various calls that Malishka has made to public figures, we chose the one she made to the Queen at Buckingham Palace to congratulate her on the birth of Prince William’s son, for you to listen to. (Listen to the call made here).
Malishka says her job as an RJ has given her everything she has dreamt of – a house, an opportunity to travel the world and the ability to make so many people laugh. “People share their problems on air and expect results. Here the rewards are far greater than money. To be able to achieve my dream with a lot of public support is a great thing,” she confesses.
Besides all the fun she has on her show, Malishka has also used the channel to raise funds for social causes. She helped raise Rs 50 lakhs for the National Association of Blind, and Rs 30 lakhs she collected to help sponsor education for children going to local government schools.
Despite her influence over the masses, Malishka says her family, friends and office team keep her grounded and ensure her success doesn’t go to her head. “I have always said it’s important to have a great head on your shoulders. You can get swayed and act like a Diva, but being grounded is the most important asset,” says the radio star.
Her take on entrepreneurship
Malishka is happy about the surge in entrepreneurship in India. She is particularly enthused by young people taking the plunge to do different things, and says you need guts to do it. “When you become comfortable in something then to leave that and start something else is very difficult. If you tell me today to quit being an RJ and start something else it will be very difficult,” she admits.
She also believes if you start something you should be able to deliver it, and that, according to her, will be the key to your success as an entrepreneur.
Next time you are in Mumbai be sure to tune into 93.5 Red FM every morning from 6 am to 11 am. Meanwhile, you can hear a sample from her show on the Sound Cloud link below.