Putting a face to a name is quite an arduous task. Take Malishka, for instance. Is she a Russian dancer with a seductive voice and an inexpicable charm? Her Marathi is as good as it gets. Her English? Just the same. What exactly is her background? Where does she come from? We cut through the serpentine alleys of Kamala Mills in Lower Parel, on our way to the RedFM office, to meet this enigmatic queen of radio.
Mask or reality?
Malishka, the woman with a distinctively powerful voice, walks us into a room as she candidly chats away about what led her to becoming a nation-wide radio phenomenon. A media student, who was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time is the only explanation she has for being a radio jockey today. “It is not like I fought the odds to step into this world and it is not like I toiled day and night for it either,” she explains. “Timing,” she goes on, “was what led me here,” she finishes as she counts her blessings, yet again, for being known as the city’s number one radio jockey.
This little endearmeant-coated package of dynamite tells us what has kept her going for the last eight years. “Relevance,” she says, “is the only answer to staying in this industry, day-in, day-out.” From talking about serious issues like rape plaguing the country’s capital to understanding the need for a daily dose of laughter, she freckles her morning show with “just what makes the listeners tick”. The Bajaate Raho woman is one whose age we would challenge you to guess–not that it would be of any productive relevance–given her youthful demeanour and devil-may-care attitude.
The good, the bad and the ugly
“I have cried on air as I interviewed a man who was in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel during the unfortunate 26/11 incident in the city,” she shares, immersing us into the microcosm she has created for herself at RedFM. When we ask her about the endless list of sexual innuendos we clinch onto when listening to her show, she laughingly points at the invisible halo around her head. “Call certain statements suggestive or refer to them as sexual innuendos, I feel that the audience is smart enough to catch on to what is being said to them through my one-on-one conversation with them every morning,” she explains, winking at us. She shares the need to always stay updated with trends, state issues, and other current events while the focus is on her delivery as she tackles her show every morning. From innocuously flirting with her favourite Bollywood stars on air and magically getting away with it given her impossible-not-to-love personality to discussing the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party in the country, “the focus remains on the emotive connect that is to be maintained with the audience,” she highlights, before jumping onto another topic; this time, the unmatched relationship she shares with her mother.
So, how exactly is her brain wired is a question we cannot help but throw at her, hoping for a response that will, yet again, blow our minds. “That, my dear,” she bursts into laughter (for the nth time), “is an answer I have been looking for since forever.” When quizzed on the radio being a form of media still considered to be from the dinosaur era, she throws her head back laughing at the bizarre question we seem to have uttered. “People in Mumbai spend hours in the car, on their way to and from work; tuning in to a radio show is but an instinctive reaction by one and all in the city,” she shares.
A one-woman radio show during a prime time slot–you would think Malishka would find her task daunting but she waves off our worries with a perfectly manicured hand. “I love what I do and I have been doing it for eight years now.” She leaves us with a warm hug, memories of endless laughter and a casual invitation to a party. Before we know it, we find ourselves under her charm like her listeners and walk away with a love for Malishka that is inexplicably loyalist.