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Interviews |  26 Sep 2007 15:08 |  By Aaishwari

Radio City's RJ Manish Vallicha - I have an answer for or an opinion on everything!

Born and brought up in Mumbai, and when not busy in the studio or in shoots, loves chilling out at Olive, China House and Zenzi.

That's RJ Manish Vallicha for you. Manish, who hosts the unconventional show 'City City Bang Bang' on Radio City loves being at home sometimes or hanging around Carter Road watching life go by. For him, everything in life is perspective - Whattefun!'s Aaishwari Chouhan catches up with the jock who says he is old enough to talk about 'adult stuff', doesn't want to reveal his age, and is currently happy being single.


Hosting a night slot; doesn't that disturb your day?

Disturb whom? Me?? It's the high point of my day! In fact, I've stopped disturbing my mother because she doesn't have to feed me dinner anymore! But the late night kebab shops in Bandra see me more often. In Mumbai, what you can do at 9 pm, you can do at midnight. Actually, you can do more!

Doesn't Mumbai need a station that plays Hindi to English music in the ratio 2:3?

There's room for a lot more on Mumbai radio, but my focus is differentiated content. We shouldn't lose sense of the fact that this is India and Hindi reaches out to a lot more people. I think we at Radio City have taken a really big, bold step as an innovator to dare to present an English show and turn right when everyone else has run the other way. But I think it's the right balance to have three hours of English programming a day on the station for the urban Indian who, before this show had no alternative for his kind of music! When each player in the industry is allowed more than one station in the same city, then why 2:3? I'd say that when that happens, then we can have a completely English station as part of the total offering!

Your show isn't promoted very aggressively. Is that intentional?

I wouldn't say 'City City Bang Bang' is not being promoted. It's the only show of its kind on FM radio in Mumbai. In fact, we have a lot of exciting plans for 'City City Bang Bang' up our sleeve! The show has generated tremendous word of mouth so far and for me, that's great promotion!

Many a time, you take the stand of the modern day love guru. Doesn't that get very clich?©d?

Ha ha! Not at all! If you listen to both 'City City Bang Bang'and 'Love Guru,'you'll realize that we're completely different. The show is about different personalities talking in different styles, about different things. On City City Bang Bang, 'Rated X'which is a really popular feature on my show, listeners can call me and ask me any question on anything at all, not just love! My advice is (almost) never serious! It's fun, light, naughty and sometimes can border on risqu?©. So I can tell a guy how to talk to a girl he sees every day at a bus stop, help an executive wrest a raise he deserves from his boss, assist you in finding out if your husband's cheating on you and at the same time tell you why Indians are crazy about cricket! Right or wrong, I totally identify with Hermione in Harry Potter. I have an answer for or an opinion on everything!

How do you prepare for your show?

I put a lot of effort into what I talk about. I read six to seven newspapers a day. I need to know everything about everything. Sometimes listeners call and say "I don't understand English songs that well but I wait to hear you talk because it's interesting and fun. And "I tried out your advice and it's worked!"

Interestingly, I have radio jockeys from rival stations call me as listeners and tell me they love the show. The other day the COO from a rival station told me that mine is the only show he enjoys listening to on the radio and to me, that's a great compliment and extremely gracious of him.

How does your show fit into the Radio City image?

My show is - urban, light, adventurous, free-spirited and fun, which is what the Radio City brand stands for.

I was part of the Radio City team when FM radio was unleashed in Mumbai. We were the very first to do Hindi Retro at night with 'Yaadein'! We were the first to give away cash on the air to listeners in 2002.That's what 'City City Bang Bang'does - keeps the tradition of innovation going strong!

How did you evolve as an RJ?

It's been quite a journey! I have always loved the sound of my own voice since I was a kid. Elocution, debates, theatre and directing plays at school in Bombay Scottish. A lot more of that at Sydenham and was always hosting live shows; was in advertising while in college and then went to business school and then was hired by Radio City two months before we went on air in Mumbai. Started with the afternoon show called the Radiocity Caf?©, a month later was moved to the Breakfast slot when we launched 'Kase Kai Mumbai'and 'Sanvaari Dismiss'on Saturday evenings. I've hosted the Breakfast Show on another FM station as well and also my first venture into talk radio - a cricket show for satellite radio. And now I'm back home on Radio City with 'City City Bang Bang.'So from being the first car in the parking lot to the last car in the parking lot! The only slot I haven't done is Mid-Morning and I think I'll leave that to the ladies who excel at it!

If not a jock, you would be...

I've always wanted to be more than one thing! When I was in school I was intrigued by Leonardo Da Vinci's many talents and remember thinking to myself that my business card should also have on it all the things that I'm good at or want to get good at. But I've always been inclined towards the creative and performing arts… So to answer your question, would definitely always be a Radio Jockey but also a producer, writer, photographer, free spirit, actor, director, artist, television anchor, inventor, leader, scuba diving instructor, adventurer, traveler, problem solver, scientist, creative director, storyteller…

Future ventures…

Besides radio, I'm also anchoring three different shows on TV on different channels, voicing and hosting events right now. I'll probably always do radio because I love radio but love film as a medium and will definitely direct a film at some stage in the future.

Most requested songs on your show.

Another brick in the wall by Pink Floyd! I get a lot of requests for Ace of base, Stayin'Alive by the Bee Gees, Prince, Deep Purple, Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, besides America. Oh, and 'Girls just wanna have fun'by Cyndi Lauper.

Your personal favourite songs?

Everything I play on the show! But more specifically 'Light my Fire'and every single song by the Doors, 'Ain't No Mountain higher'by Diana Ross and the Supremes. 'Respect'by Aretha Franklin. 'Unforgettable'by Nat King Cole. 1999 - Prince. I can go on and on but I love Soul, Funk and most of the music written in the 60's.

On what basis is the playlist decided?

Research, research, research, listener requests to an extent and the kind of mood we want to create that night.