His “Encyclopaedia Of Hindi Film Songs” Strikes A Chord With Malaysian Govt
Krushna Chandra Mishra had no idea that a hobby-turned-passion to write down basic information about Hindi film songs while hearing them on the radio would one day make him a popular face overseas. This Hindi song enthusiast has caught the attention of the Malaysian Government for his treasure trove of information on thousands of songs from 1931 to 1980, which he has compiled into 5 volumes.
Mishra has also bought the copyright for his printed manuscript, which he has named the “The Encyclopaedia of Hindi Film Songs.” According to Mishra, the Malaysian Government wants at least 8000 published copies of each of his volume, for which they are ready to pay him 70 crore. However, Mishra, a retired government servant from Cuttack is finding it hard to print so many copies! In conversation with MCL, Mishra talks about how he intends to reach his goal even as he feels sad about not getting any support from his own government to get the book published.
How did you develop this hobby of writing down Hindi film songs?
When I was in Class 7th or 8th, I was a huge fan of Hindi film songs. It was a regular affair for me to listen to Hindi film songs on radio. In fact, it almost turned into a passion. Not just songs, I also took a keen interest in finding out the singers and lyricists. So, I developed this habit of noting down the composer’s name along with the music director and the first line of the song whenever I heard one on radio. Gradually, I also started writing more information about the film and the raaga on which the song was based.
Shed some light on your book.
My book comprises 5 volumes in an alphabetical order starting from the year 1931 to 1980. I have written down necessary information about all Hindi songs I have heard on the radio including the first line of the song. I was particularly hooked to AIR’s Vividh Bharti.
Tell us more about the offer from the Malaysian Government.
The Malaysian Government got to know about my collection and contacted me. I visited the Malaysian Embassy in New Delhi and they have agreed to buy 8000 copies for each volume from me, which means they would take 80,000 copies from me in total and in return pay me 70 crore. However, for publishing so many prints in glossy paper, I need 40 lakh at least. As per rules, the Malaysian Government can issue me the order letter only after I have submitted my agreement with a ISO certified printing press. But even a printing press demands 50 percent of the total amount before signing such an agreement. Thankfully, with help from some contacts, I have managed to convince a press in Cuttack to sign the agreement on payment of one-fourth of the total amount, which is 10 lakhs. Currently, my only focus is on collecting that amount.
Have you approached the Odisha Government for help?
I have written the government several letters to help me with finance so that I can publish the 5 volumes, which will also be beneficial for them, since there is an offer from the Malaysian Government, but in vain.
What is the current progress on the encyclopaedia?
Since the government turned me down, I have been collecting money slowly but steadily. I have already managed 2-3 lakhs and I plan to publish all the volumes in the next 5 years.
So, how do you see the road ahead for you?
It was in 1981 when I was an English lecturer and after I came back from college in the evening I had to meet different people to gather money so that I could at least get the manuscript printed and published. It was a tough phase. But I somehow managed. Now, I am going in for the real book with 5 volumes and though it isn’t easy, I am confident I will get it done in the next five years. We sincerely hope he gets all the support in the stipulated time and deliver Malaysian Government the best of his collections! Issu3 5 vol 3 rohita dutta