A master broadcaster of our generation, whose vote bank at one point of time could be gauged by the number of letters from listeners of Radio Kashmir Srinagar and letters with dried flowers from listeners from across the border.
Generations, who have heard him, used to copy his voice and style. Today, he celebrates his 79th birthday; his voice is as young as it was then – a golden voice of Kashmir.
This is Manohar Prothi, whose range of voice and modulation gives him a unique place in the field of sound broadcasting.
Manohar has always been one of the celebrated broadcasters of Radio Kashmir Srinagar, who specialised in the field of drama, interviews, conversations and as an anchor person for discussions as well as a commentator of live programs in outdoor broadcasts relayed directly from the spot. He has been one of the very few creative artists who are as competent at script writing as well as broadcasting.
A man bubbling with creativity, over time was able to create a big bank of audience in various classes of Kashmiri society.
Manohar started broadcasting as a child and continues to be a popular artist at the age of seventy nine.
For over four decades, he continued to present ‘the forces program’ which was an everyday affair on Radio Kashmir Srinagar. But, what has made him a legend is his identity as “Bhai Jaan’ of Children’s program. And finally, ‘Aziz Bhai’ in ‘Wadhi ke Aawaz’ program which made him a celebrity here and across the border in Pakistan.
During his professional life, an extraordinary thing which happened with him was that his rivals grew exponentially. But then, without him the quality of work suffered. I guess with such a talent, this had to happen.
Nevertheless, he worked on and continued to create a niche and respect for himself in the field of broadcasting and in the hearts of his listeners.
I recall a play which I wrote on Habba Khatun that was broadcast by Radio Kashmir, Srinagar. Within eight days of the broadcast, we got a letter from Delhi, from a theatre group that wanted to stage it. It was the performers of the Radio play who had put life in my script. Manohar played the role of Yousf Chak. He played the role of the hero in other plays like ‘Khazan ke Phool l’, “Kabhi Nahin’, ‘Jeb Katr’, ‘Lala Rukh”, Talaash” – the list is too long to even remember.
These are the plays which were well scripted, and he did full justice to each one of them. These plays are still remembered.
On the personal side, I knew Manohar from his very early days. We all were very fond of him. He came from a very well off family. I was studying in SP School and he was in SP College. He used to come to college on a cycle wearing an expensive overcoat. A chain smoker, he used to have two-three packets of Gold Flake cigarettes. Having a packet of Gold Flake cigarettes was a luxury in those days. We used to borrow two cigarettes and sometimes even a full packet from him. He never objected. He was a prince. Very few people are of a DNA who even after they are deprived of riches, retain their traits. Manohar is such a person.
by Farooq Nazki
photography wp theme