Interviewed By Mihir Jha
“I believe that people who are opinion leaders in some way or the other like Film Actors or Religious Gurus have this responsibility to send some messages and I don’t find them doing that a lot. For example, if a religious guru says tomorrow that people should not litter up on streets, I am pretty sure that it shall have a very good impact because their followers are often more than politicians. My life’s focus is now good story telling in whatever forms it comes whether it’s on radio or writing in books or lyrics or through music but I want to straggle to space between the real India and the larger mass. For example in my radio show also I want to touch on social issues such as caste and corruption(referring to themes of some of the latest stories on Yaad Sheher, a first of its kind story telling show on radio on 92.7 FM)”, speaks Neelesh Misra who happens to be the lyricist of more than 30 songs in bollywood including the likes of Jadu Hai Nasha Hai, Maine Dil Se Kaha, Abhi Kuchh Dino Se in the recently released Bollywood movie Dil To Bachha Hai Jee, author of several bestsellers like The Absent State, End of The Line: The Story of the killing of Royals in Nepal, Inspired India: Ideas to transform A Nation, the distinguished award winning journalist who covered wide range of issues as sensitive as Kargil, Tsunami, Maoist Rebel of Nepal, Kashmir Insurgence, Gujarat Earthquake, Bihar Flood and the former Deputy Executive Editor of Hindustan Times.
Excerpts from an exclusive telephonic interview with RQ:
RQ: Tell us something about the early days of your life?
Neelesh: I was born in Lucknow in 1973 and brought up in different cities like Lucknow, Reva in MP and later in Nainital. I lived a large part of my professional life in Delhi. I started my career in 1995 when I was writing for “Swatantra Bharat” and studying alongside. I have recently shifted to Mumbai.
RQ: They say,” Life grows great only when it is planned”. How had you planned your career keeping so many roles in mind?
Neelesh: Well, I never planned my career because I wanted to do a lot of things when I was growing up. I wanted to write books or be involved in music and lyrics. I wanted to sing, do copywriting and advertising .Though I got opportunities to do all those things but later I realized that it was sheer greed and I decided to bring it down to at least 2 or 3 things and I did that. As of now, I am basically focussing on storytelling in whatever format or media it comes. In each of my stories, I try to touch some social issues and pass on some meaningful message.
RQ: Why did you quit your job as Deputy Executive Editor of Hindustan Times? Is it because of Yaad Sheher or you are working on something more ambitious?
Neelesh: Well, I had been associated with Bollywood as an outsider for a large part of the decade with “Jadu Hai Nasha Hai” being the first release in 2002 and I was happy doing that because it was my choice. Later I realised that from the perspective of my career, I had to make a choice. I often think that even though I managed to write books on off-days yet I could have helped so many other things which came my way like Films, Music etc. Hence, I don’t want to go for a full time journalism now. I will be associated with journalism in some tentative way. I would love to keep writing for whoever wants me to write for them. This way, I shall be able to connect to different groups and at the same time I shall be able to concentrate on other creative works which are there in mind. As of now, I am writing a script for Yash Raj Films along with Kabir Khan who is also directing the film. Of the latest that I have done is the lyrics of the song “Abhi Kuchh Dino Se” and “Ye Dil Hai Nakhrewala” in Dil to Bachha Hai Jee” by Madhur Bhandarkar.
That apart, I am trying to start a rural newspaper but haven’t got funding yet, have held workshops with rural kids to train them in journalism and the entire plan is ready.
RQ : What is the time in a day that you cherish the most?
Neelesh: I think when I complete a story and I look back, I feel happy.
RQ: How was a lyricist Neelesh born? How did you get the motivation to go for lyrics and music?
Neelesh: I used to write lyrics during my college days. That was actually for fun as most of them would be dedicated for women ( Grins). Later I sent one composition to Jagjit Singh requesting him to sing. I used to be a big fan of him. Later when I came to Mumbai while researching the idea of my first book “173 Hours in Captivity: The Hijacking of IC-814 by Harper Collins “, I happened to meet Mahesh Bhatt for an interview. Coincidentally I ended up singing a song there. They quickly recorded the song. Though that movie was not promoted at all but then it gave me opportunity to write the lyrics of “Jadu Hai Nasha Hai” of Jism. So, things followed from there. I have done some 17 films since then as lyrics writer.
RQ: Tell us something about your band. What is it that differentiates “Nine” from rest of the bands?
Neelesh: Well, its formal name is “A Band Called Nine”. It is the India’s only writer-led band. The concept is based on storytelling and song. I am telling the story on stage and then songs come and go and this is how the concept of the real show is born out of the album. It’s been produced by Sa Re Ga Ma i.e HMV and its ready now. We shall be releasing it very soon now. Responses so far had been great. People have been asking for songs. So, hopefully it shall do good.
RQ: In Yaad Sheher, listeners send you stories and you give it a shape and then your voice. What is one quality that needs to be there in any story to get a Neelesh Misra Voice?
Neelesh: I do ask listeners to send their stories so that I remain connected with them. Their involvement is what matters to me but then I have hardly taken any story from listeners. I write my own stories. There had been two occasions when I had used the idea of a listener. There was a story called “Mohalla” by a lady from Bhopal, Shefali Pandey. I liked her idea. I wrote it and then declared her name before the show. I also used some portions she had written which were very beautiful. So, it’s the idea which is important.
RQ: Being associated with the movies, How do you see Regional Film Industries in north when compared to the Kollywood, Tollywood etc of South? Is there any plan in your agenda to work for regional films in north?
Neelesh: I think Punjabi and Bhojpuri film Industries are fairly big but these apart, other languages have not been able to do that well. It has to do with Money and Infrastructure and also good writing. India claims to make some 900 movies per year but then Hindi films are not more than 150. Slowly, Hindi cinema is borrowing a lot of ideas from others and I hope that this might work good for North as well. So if you take that idea as a pool along with the “Garhwaali concept”, It can do better and add to its brand value as well. Again, at the end of the day what matters is Money.
RQ: Any plans in your agenda for regional film Industry in North? Prakash Jha has often spoken about it, how about you?
Neelesh: No, not really. I have not been approached. I would actually love to work with Prakash Jha. I love his sensibility.
RQ: As a journalist, you have studied and researched on what happens to be one of the biggest threats to India today: Maoism. What do you propose as the best possible solution for this?
Neelesh: In my book, “The Absent State” which is co-authored by Rahul Pandita, we have said that Insurgency has become a very convenient excuse on part of the government. In the name of Insurgency govt. doesn’t spend money. Close to half of the money allocated for development is never spent. That’s a tragedy. They don’t undertake development works. They hardly go to those areas. If this money was at least spent if not well spent, at least something could have been seen on the ground. On the other side, it has also become a very convenient excuse for Maoists. If Binayak Sen is tried and convicted by govt. on flimsy charges of alleged links with Maoists, it is opposed and it should be. I justify that because just knowing Maoists doesn’t make you a terrorist. But on the other side, when they come up with the cases like the present Malkangiri DM, then people have to think the other way. It’s but extortion. A sense of understanding is completely missing. Cases like Malkangiri are never recommendable. The govt of-course does very nasty things and we should oppose them but there’s a sense of proportion which is completely missing especially when it comes to Maoism.
If these govt. officials begin to travel in those areas and spend money in development projects, Maoists would also feel a kind of reassurance that govt. does exist and more importantly it exists for them also. When you go there and ask them about their problems they would backfire saying,” When was the last time an MP came here? What have they done for us? How many hand pumps have they given us in last 5 years and questions like that”. And this is a genuine concern. It strikes hard on Governance. So, I don’t see a military solution at all. I don’t suggest the idea of going and bombing them at all. The only answer is Good Governance.
RQ: How do you see the role of Media, NGO’s and Human Rights activists in such cases?
Neelesh:A year before last, there was a report done in an NGO in Chhattisgarh called “Burnt in Oil”. It was about alleged human rights violations by paramilitary forces. The case was how a 60-year man was hung upside down and dipped in hot oil by paramilitary forces. Now when I went there to find out I could discover that this had never happened. This report was released internationally. The internet was flooded with this story. When I published my story in the Hindustan Times, they said that they would rather believe the NGO which did the report than to believe someone called Neelesh Misra who works for a corporate paid entity. So there is a level of hypocrisy here. If you happen to go to those areas, you shall also find that several of the Maoists demands are justified. They also talk of good governance and I personally agree with a lot of demands of Maoists. No, I am not a communist and I don’t need to be a Communist or Maoist to be on the side of dispossessed. There is a lot of similarity on what anyone else in the country say and what Maoists say but then the method that they use like Kidnapping of DM or hijacking train is something I completely disagree with. I think we have lost a sense of proportion on this issue.
That apart, govt doesn’t have new and innovative ideas on dealing with insurgency. Govt should come up with a better plan but at the same time I also believe that even if existing plans by the govt are also implemented in true sense, the situation could be much better.
RQ: What according to you had been the best thing to happen in India in the recent past which a common people can relate to?
Neelesh: I think that economic reforms had a good impact to some extent though they also gave rise to some disparity ... but at the end of the day, they have increased opportunities for a large number of people. That apart, NREG had been a great idea but then it can’t be a permanent solution. It should be taken as short term remedy. It was a shortcut by the govt but they need to come up with some comprehensive solution.
RQ: What message would you like to give to the common men in the country so that they can contribute to the growth of Nation ?
Neelesh: They should conserve electricity, water, food. They should care for the environment. They shouldn’t litter streets and spit on public places. They should not abuse and become hostile. That’s what makes one an ideal being which any common man can always do and hence add to the society.
RQ: How do you find the idea of Reader’s Quotient?
Neelesh: I think it’s very interesting. I hope it’s working. Keep the good work up. Wish you guys all the best.
Он схватил меня за "Скачать на андроид ассасин"туловище, сжав так, что мне показалось, будто изо всех моих пор проступила выжатая из тела влага.
За два месяца до последнего "Чертеж кровати с ящиками"события мне случилось найти его иод дорожной развязкой аэропорта после первой репетиции собственной смерти.
Проклинаю всех воров, их нужно травить собаками, сжить "Программы для pdf скачать бесплатно"со света!
Она задумчиво кивнула, подошла к столу и обследовала кнопки легкими, как десять перышек, пальцами.
Джек решил, что удирать пешему от всадников смысла нет, особенно, когда негде спрятаться.
Его состояние, возможно, сильнее повлияло на мою "Скачать скачать фильм кортик"склонность к философским размышлениям, чем я "11 минут скачать"это осознавал, потому что я и в самом деле задумался на секунду над его вопросом и честно на него ответил.