Think of Salil and Archana as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, except that they are not outlaws - nor a couple for that matter. In reality, this dyad is anything but a conventional one you would expect to be working together; they bicker...a lot!
If their daily morning show on Radio City, Kasa Kai Mumbai, is anything to go by, we would say that he is somewhat of a yin to her yang, “He makes it really hard for me not to pull my hair out,” says Archana, as she sets the tone for the highly entertaining interview that ensues.
One is sure to recognise Salil from the several television serials, chat shows, and movies he has been a part of and yet, he prides himself on his most time-consuming and challenging job: radio jockeying. “We have, since time immemorial, been battling the stereotypical statements of radio being a fallback option for those who fail in other fields,” shares Salil. He has a clear twinkle in his eye, one that hides more Bollywood gossip that you can imagine; a twinkle that we are distracted from only by his supersonic ability to speak a gazillion words per minute. Having worked in radio for nearly ten years now, Salil dispels another myth, “For those who think radio does not pay well, let us say that the lifestyle we can pride ourselves on, does not pay for itself!”
Archana Paania, Salil’s partner in crime in the daily morning show, is a mass communication student. Her energy level is unmatched - her laugh, contagious - as she explains the need to reinvent herself daily while “keeping it as real as she can” for the audience. “It is definitely not easy to come into a studio and speak to people everyday, making sure that the slot is not filled with content similar to that of the day before or the day before that,” explains Paania. “Also, given that it becomes a daily appointment with an audience that regularly tunes in to our show, we have to constantly show them hues of our personalities,” she shares, steering away from the schizophrenic character and bipolar-hinting duality one may expect from a radio jockey.
As for their combination, it is lethal, we would say, as we sit through their 7 am show to gauge what makes so many Mumbaikars tune in. The duo works like a house on fire. He lashes out at a Bollywood actor, she chips in by not only putting him in check but adding an endearing endless giggle; he pulls her leg yet again and she is armed with a witty retort. “The radio is anything but a dinosaur technology; every person in this city eventually tunes in to the radio and we ensure that we give them a show peppered with enough laughter and doses of reality to make it entertaining and relevant,” explain the two. Think of it as accessing virtual lanes and bylanes they normally would not step into, blurring the socio-economic confines other media platforms are often tainted by.
“Free, accessible to an entire nation where just an emotive voice is enough to capture a listener’s attention for hours”, the radio is a means to express themselves in a way that is entertainingly escapist.
Two virtual friends, providing a feeling of companionship to listeners every morning, Salil feels strongly about the growth of radio. “Media options are constantly growing but the emotional triggers that the radio puts forth are unmatched,” he explains.