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'Amitabh called me 'howleracious'!'

Last updated on: May 20, 2010 12:28 IST

On May 19, Mumbai radio station Red FM's Morning No 1 with Malishka won the Best Breakfast Programme/Show (Hindi) at the Indian Excellence in Radio Awards 2010.

But, amazingly, winning the award wasn't the best thing that happened yesterday to the show's popular host, RJ Malishka Mendonsa.

"Amitabh Bachchan tweeted about my show on his Twitter account, and called me 'howleracious'. Then, a littler later, he sent me a Twitter message and said nice things once again about the show. Wow!" Malishka gushes in her enthusiastic, effervescent way.

Welcome to the world of radio, where even the country's top celebrities know your name and voice.

Malishka -- still basking in the afterglow of her Indian Radio awards success and a 140-character Big B testimonial -- gave us an insight into her job, her accomplishments and what it takes to make waves on the air:

On hosting an award-winning show: Well, it feels great. I'm very excited.

But it's not the first year Morning No 1 has won. In fact, it's the fourth consecutive year we've won Best Breakfast Show (Hindi). In the past, I've been named RJ of the Year twice for my work on the show.

And 'Best Breakfast' isn't the only category in which we've won. We've been consistently picking up these awards for the past few years and that's a credit to Red FM. This year the station won nine awards.

I think, because radio in India is still in a somewhat nascent stage, these awards don't get as much publicity as some other awards.

The secret behind my success: I can connect with anyone and everyone, and I think I have a different way of looking at things.

When I first joined Red FM, I was really panicked, asking: "What is my target audience? What is my target audience?"

But I soon realised that, just by being myself, I could find success. So, very often I am the extremely funny girl who focusses on the lighter side of life. But, also very often, I discuss important issues in the city and perhaps give my opinion. It's just me.

As for Morning No 1, it's a morning show. Research all over the world shows the morning programmes are the most listened to.

So, I'm there to provide that morning pick-me-up, to tell you what you missed while you slept, and to tell you what you need to know for the day ahead.

What it's like working in radio: I'm completely satisfied. There's no job like a radio job, because you are communicating with the whole world.

Yes, radio also presents the opportunity to make a good salary. But if you only get into it for the glamour or the money, you won't make it. It's about talent and dedication.

A typical day in my life: I set my alarm religiously for 5:35 am every night. My show is from 6:00 am-11:00 am, but the first hour is pre-recorded. So I'm on the air from 7 am onwards.

After the show ends, it depends. There are days when you can finish your show, plan for the next day and leave. And there are days when there is a lot to do.

I'd say I'm generally out of the station by 4 pm, but definitely not always.

On weekends, I like to go out with my friends, see movies, etc. I'm totally into adventure sports, and also love getting away from the city from time to time.

How I became an RJ: When I was young, I knew I wanted to use my creativity in my future career, but I wasn't exactly sure how.

I also remember being at my neighbour's house and how I would talk and talk and talk. They told me that I sounded like I was on the radio.

Anyhow, after I did my Mass Communication studies, I went to work in advertising. I hated it. Too much politics. I'm not made for the corporate lifestyle.

I knew what I wanted to do: perform and entertain.

And now I can. Radio's perfect for me!

Malishka's fab five interview subjects: I could give dozens and dozens, literally. That's how much fun I have doing interviews. But here are some of my favourites:

Amitabh Bachchan: For the longest time, I dreamed about meeting him. And now we've reached a level where we're actually Tweeting each other! We've played cards together before. He invited me to the premiere of Paa. On many occasions, he's told me that he listens to and enjoys my show. Oh, and we share the same birthday!

Hrithik Roshan: We are quite mad in the way we interview people. When Hrithik came in, I taught him to speak in Marathi and then gave him different scenarios where he had to speak it. And his Marathi is so bad! But his responses were absolutely hilarious. He's a very warm, entertaining person. Oh, and when he came into the station, he was feeling very cold, because of the air conditioner. So I politely offered him my jacket, thinking he'd refuse. But he took it! And then he kept waxing poetic about my jacket, about how nice it was and how good it smelled. It was a lot of fun.

Shah Rukh Khan: I've always loved interviewing him, because he is very approachable and has so much energy. Also, he is modesty personified -- but you feel like he deserves his fame. Most of all, he's just too funny. No matter what you ask, he's always ready with a witty reply. I remember we were talking about the IPL, and he kept saying he was going to convert me, the most hardcore Mumbaikar, into a Bengali!

Priyanka Chopra: She's always fun. By this point, stars know what they are getting into when they interview with us. They know how mad we can get. So, somehow, I always get away asking all kinds of questions. Priyanka and I were talking total nonsense, but we had quite a good time. I was asking her about being so tall and having such long legs. It was hilarious.

Ekta Kapoor: She had never aired on radio before she came on with me. She kept telling me how nervous she was, which was amazing to see: Ekta Kapoor nervous?! She kept saying my questions would get her in trouble, but she couldn't help it. She kept answering all my questions, and giving great replies. Afterwards, she told me that I had gotten more out of her than any other interviewer. She even said she would put me in one of her future movies, because I was so bold and tough!

Matthew Schneeberger