Af­ter rul­ing the Mum­bai ra­dio scene for more than seven years, In­dian ra­dio jock­eys Jaggu and Tarana are set to bring their spe­cial brand of hu­mour to the UAE with their new show on Josh 97.8. Shiva Ku­mar Thekkepat talks to the duo who are set to con­quer

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From Mum­bai to Dubai, the In­dian RJs set to rule our air­waves.

O ver the seven years their pop­u­lar show Good Morn­ing Mum­bai was broad­cast on a ra­dio sta­tion in In­dia, Jaggu and Tarana have helped lis­ten­ers get jobs, get to­gether and even get mar­ried. Now they prom­ise to cre­ate the same magic here in the UAE with their brand new show, Break­fast with Jaggu and Tarana, which will air from 6am to 10am on week­days on Josh 97.8, start­ing on Sun­day.

Less well known by their real names, Ashish Jag­tiani and Tarana Raja, the pair had huge suc­cess in In­dia. “Al­though the break­fast show we did to­gether in Mum­bai ended some time ago [in 2009], we still meet peo­ple who can re­call links from the show,” says Tarana. “Lots of lis­ten­ers still write to us just to say hello!”

While Tarana tends to speak in ex­cla­ma­tions, Jaggu tries to play the straight guy. “Tarana is the drama queen to my lan­guorous the­o­rist, both on air and off,” says the laid-back Jaggu.

Both started their ra­dio ca­reers in their early 20s, in dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions. While Tarana nursed dreams of be­com­ing a star, Jaggu had vi­sions of be­com­ing a busi­ness jour­nal­ist.

Tarana started off by do­ing news and en­ter­tain­ment up­dates on Ra­dio Mid­day, while Jaggu an­a­lysed the stock mar­ket and pre­sented fi­nance news on Times FM. But in 2002 they found them­selves do­ing dif­fer­ent shows on the same ra­dio sta­tion.

Their com­ing to­gether was a happy ac­ci­dent: Tarana stood in for Jaggu’s usual co-host – who was on a hol­i­day – on the drive-time show one evening. “The pro­gram­ming head de­cided that we were both nuts and de­served to be to­gether,” says Tarana. So Jaggu moved to Tarana’s break­fast show, where they spent seven suc­cess­ful years mak­ing peo­ple laugh, and some­times think se­ri­ously, ev­ery morn­ing. They’ve in­ter­viewed a num­ber of celebri­ties for their show in­clud­ing Bol­ly­wood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Ir­rfan Khan, Ar­jun Ram­pal, Ar­baaz Khan, Neha Dhu­pia, Riteish Desh­mukh,

Imran Khan, Bo­man Irani,

Gul Panag and Sameera Reddy, as well as sports stars such as Rahul Dravid, Yu­vraj Singh, Za­heer Khan and Baichung Bhutia.

“We once even did a mock in­ter­view with Bol­ly­wood star Rekha,’’ says Jaggu. “She is a fa­mously ret­i­cent in­ter­vie­wee, so on her birth­day we cre­ated a set of ques­tions that could be an­swered by the lyrics of the songs she fea­tured in. So we asked the ques­tion and played out the rel­e­vant song as if in re­ply.

“As a twist, we also had a char­ac­ter wish her happy birth­day in a voice mim­ick­ing Amitabh Bachchan and her re­ply­ing through a song.’’ It was a huge hit with lis­ten­ers.

In fact, Bol­ly­wood celebs not only vied to be on their show but were also loyal lis­ten­ers. “We’ve had singer Shankar Ma­hade­van, di­rec­tor Ro­han Sippy, film stars Imran Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Neha Dhu­pia and Su­niel Shetty call into the show and par­tic­i­pate in var­i­ous games,” says Tarana. “We bul­lied Su­niel into tak­ing our lis­ten­ers for a ride in his new Hum­mer, and poor Ro­han Sippy was once April-fooled by us and was up­set for a while!”

They’re also known for tak­ing their show out of the stu­dio. “We’re the only RJs in Mum­bai to have hosted live ra­dio from the of­fices of Vogue, The Pres­i­dent Ho­tel and other such venues,” says Jaggu.

‘I love telling sto­ries’

So how dif­fi­cult is it to con­vey thoughts and ideas to lis­ten­ers on ra­dio?

“It’s not dif­fi­cult for me,” says Tarana. “I’m quite chatty and love telling sto­ries. If you throw in enough per­sonal de­tails, peo­ple lis­ten­ing to you make their own men­tal im­age of you and con­nect. Also, ra­dio is a very per­sonal medium. The lis­tener be­lieves the RJ is their friend and is talk­ing to him or her alone.”

Jaggu adds, “What you say and the vibe you put out cre­ates your per­son­al­ity, so over time lis­ten­ers are able to recog­nise you and iden­tify with you with­out hav­ing ac­tu­ally seen you.”

De­spite the very ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ences in their per­son­al­i­ties – “Tarana is Type A and hy­per, a real diva, while I am Type Zzzzz and re­laxed,” says Jaggu. “She gets by on four hours of sleep, while I am par­tial to af­ter­noon naps af­ter a good night’s rest” – both have a lot in com­mon, which works well for their show.

For in­stance, apart from be­ing on ra­dio to­gether for years, both have had ca­reers in TV. Tarana has played im­por­tant char­ac­ters in a num­ber of tele­vi­sion se­ri­als and soap op­eras over the years in­clud­ing Kasautii Zindagi Kay, San­jee­vani and Kumkum. She’s even now a part of the hugely pop­u­lar show, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain, and plans to keep work­ing on it even af­ter mov­ing to Dubai – fly­ing back to Mum­bai to shoot on week­ends.

Tarana has also starred in a few Hindi movies such as Pyar Ke Side Ef­fects, Laaga Chu­nari Mein Daag and Karthik Call­ing Karthik.

“I spent a glo­ri­ous two-and-a-half years do­ing busi­ness tele­vi­sion on shows that no­body re­mem­bers,” laughs Jaggu. “Tarana is in­vited to sign au­to­graphs and pose for pic­tures in any part of the world she hap­pens to be in, while I al­ways walk around with a pen in my pocket, ready to whip it out at a mo­ment’s no­tice, in case any­body asks for my au­to­graph. The ink in the pen has now dried up from lack of use!”

But nei­ther of them are about to give up on ra­dio, even if a Bol­ly­wood mogul were to make them an of­fer. “I would use my hol­i­day time to shoot it, maybe week­ends, even nights, but no quit­ting ra­dio,” says Tarana firmly.

“Act­ing is be­ing some­one else, while RJing is be­ing my­self,” Tarana con­tin­ues. “But I find RJing is def­i­nitely more chal­leng­ing. It’s live, spon­ta­neous, and keeps me on my toes. I’ve never been able to choose be­tween the two so I’ve worked 18-hour days for a decade of my life, with ra­dio in the morn­ing and then act­ing at night. Thank­fully, I have plenty of en­ergy.”

While Tarana is also a trained dancer, Jaggu spends much of his spare time en­joy­ing the finer things in life. “Good food is crit­i­cally im­por­tant to mankind, es­pe­cially if mankind is rep­re­sented by me,” he says. “I’d love to have a well-built and toned body, but I sus­pect I’m never go­ing to get there.”

Jaggu’s pas­sion is writ­ing. Over the years he has writ­ten for pub­li­ca­tions in­clud­ing Vogue,

Fem­ina, The Man, Mid-Day and Mum­bai Mir­ror. “I usu­ally write about con­tem­po­rary topics and hu­mour,” he says. “The sub­jects have been as varied as the Fomo [Fear of miss­ing out] syn­drome, pro­files on achiev­ers, a self­ex­plana­tory col­umn called Di­ary of a Fat Man, and on one spe­cial oc­ca­sion, about be­ing a woman for a day!”

Jaggu and Tarana don’t al­ways agree. “Tarana gets up­set about the wastage of nat­u­ral re­sources, grey ar­eas in life, two-faced men, my driv­ing and how she looks in ev­ery new dress she buys,” says Jaggu. “I worry about the stock mar­ket, go­ing from fat to very fat, why peo­ple don’t put things in their proper place, Tarana’s driv­ing and how she looks in ev­ery new dress she buys!”

De­spite all the friendly bick­er­ing, the crazy pair do agree on one thing: they can’t wait to get started with the new show on Sun­day.

“We hope to re­tain our brand of hu­mour and en­ter­tain the peo­ple of UAE just like we did in Mum­bai,” says Tarana. “I think we ap­peal to a cer­tain kind of per­son who is sen­si­ble, but doesn’t take him­self too se­ri­ously and is will­ing to just have fun and live life to the fullest. Be­cause we are like that too!”

Af­ter shoot­ing to fame in Mum­bai, Jaggu and Tarana will soon be wak­ing up Dubai with their witty ban­ter


Tarana with her co-stars of the pop­u­lar Hindi soap Bade Achhe Lagte Hain. She will con­tinue to ap­pear in the se­rial, fly­ing back to Mum­bai on week­ends

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