Bhubaneswar: Multi-faceted Neelesh Misra, the man who has cast a spell on millions of radio listeners in the country through his storytelling was in Bhubaneswar on Saturday to speak at Odisha Literary Festival when Chiranjibi Pati caught up with him to know the story of his life. Excerpts from an interview:
- Journalist, Story-teller, script-writer, lyricist and a lot more. Which one do you identify with most?
I guess in all of that one has to be a good story teller. To be a good journalist you have to convey what you are saying in an interesting and engaging manner. I am a story teller at large and across all formats I work in.
- Lines from a story or dialogue in Hindi.
Baat be baat pe apni hi baat kehta hai, mere andar mera chhota sa shahar rehta hai.
- Connecting with the audience and painting picture while narrating a story.
I have never done this before that is my biggest strength. It was a new craft and never done before. We had to invent a structure. As far as the narration is concerned, I never want to sound like a manufactured, trained voice-over. I narrate a story like narrating a story to somebody on a park bench sitting next to me. I don’t start getting bored of my self then the listeners will get bored.
- Starting as a journalist and then story telling in the radio industry, the journey.
I am still engaged in journalism as I run “Gaon Connection”, a media platform but I miss being a reporter. I have met a lot of people while being a journalist. I don’t have a lot of knowledge but I have experience. Somewhere stories of the people and their emotions have set the emotional undercurrent of our stories. I had never been in front of mic as aprofessional neither I had written a story before I started my radio journey. I am soon starting an app of my own where people can get my content.
- Shifting the audience from TV to radio and growth of the radio industry.
Radio is certainly growing. When we started, a lot of people were skeptical even I was not sure what I was going to do. People said that who wants to hear stories these days during prime time. There was nothing mathematical about it. There was no target audience in mind. Then we realized that people at 9pm were listening to our stories instead of watching television. People found themselves in our stories, the stories touched them. As long as the honesty and simplicity sustains , people will hear us. Radio and digital medium both are growing. I want to collaborate with large number of radio stations in different parts of the country so that my content can reach many people.
- Stories in Hindi touch even non-Hindi masses
I am really privileged. It is a big surprise that people for who Hindi is not a natural language still listen to our stories. My effort was not to do Hinglish, not to compromise in the language. Language is just a tool. Even a lot of people say Why don’t you tweet in Hindi? I reply that I tell stories in Hindi that is how I am connected to the language in a proper way. People from Guwahati, from Kashmir write to us. It is a huge privilege despite the linguistic and cultural differences people relate to the stories.
- Bollywood connection
I have been little distinct from Hindi films because Gaon Connection was taking a lot of time of me. I was also little upset with the way songs are written now. A lyricist is expected to write a ringtone. I want to do songs that I am not ashamed of seeing my name against in future. I would do songs like “Kyun” from “Barfi” or “Jhumritalaiya” from “Jagga Jasoos”. I am working on two scripts at this time. The Bollywood connection will remain but on my terms only.
- Involvement or inclusion of stories from Odisha.
We have tried. We would urge the writers here to come forward and become a part of the Mandali of writers. I hope writers of the state will join our Mandali, write for us and I will like to narrate more and more stories about the state.