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Neelesh Misra

The journalist, lyricist and author on reinventing the art of storytelling

Neelesh Misra
Neelesh Misra

Tell us about your hit radio show, Yaadon Ka Idiot Box.

I tell intense, emotional stories set in an imaginary city, Yaad Sheher, in a two-hour show aired across 35 cities on Big FM.

With shrinking attention spans, how do you hook your audience?

Storytelling went out of fashion as people stopped telling stories. But listeners find their lives reflected in Yaad Sheher. It’s for people who miss home, as it creates a sense of nostalgia.

Your strongest audience?

It’s fascinating how young listeners have responded. One hostel even changed its dinner timing so the students could tune in on time.

It must be tough to write a story everyday?

This has been my toughest project yet. Each story is about 2,800 words, and it’s like writing a new film everyday.

So how do you keep it going?

I now have a talented team of young writers to help me. The challenge is to maintain the curiosity, to keep it fresh.

About you being a Blackberry shayar?

I have written lyrics from the Olympics in China, a forest in Jharkhand, a mall in California, all on my Blackberry.

How do you plan to take the show forward?

The idea is to take storytelling across the country, riding on new technology. So there will be CDs, books, a dial-a-story facility, live storytelling based on the show.

Your co-wrote Ek Tha Tiger. Thoughts?

There is always a distance between the script and the film, but it was a dream project for any scriptwriter.

What else are you working on?

I’m launching a rural newspaper, Gaon Connection. Plus, two scripts for smaller films.

Still consider yourself a Bolly outsider?

In Mumbai, I’ve resented not being able to travel, a luxury I had as a journalist. I ache to get out and sit at a dhaba in a faraway place.

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