Updated: May 31, 2015 1:00:31 am
Mintu Biswas, 28, Manufacturer, guitar and other string instruments, Mumbai and Kolkata
How did you get into this profession?
My father had a guitar manufacturing factory in Kolkata which shut down in 2000 due to financial constraints. He worked in a guitar shop in Mumbai afterwards. I took on the job after he passed away.
How far did you study?
I couldn’t study after class 10, because of my father’s death in 2005. Being the only son, I had to support my mother and two sisters. Luckily, the guitar shop my father used to work at gave me a job.
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What were your early days in Mumbai like?
It was intimidating. I was 15 and it was the first time I had come to Mumbai. I was lucky and survived on the kindness of two people: a friend of my father’s and the guitar shop owner. He not only gave me a job in my hour of crisis but also had a person accompany me in the nights I used to sleep in the workshop, so I wouldn’t be scared. My first salary was Rs 5,000. I used to eat in a canteen and send the rest home. With whatever I had learnt from my father, I taught myself along the way. I started playing the guitar to understand the instrument better and gave the shop owner ideas about improving its tones. We started making better-sounding handcrafted acoustic guitars.
How did things improve?
I earned a lot of praise from artistes such as Niladri Kumar. Some suggested I go independent and I finally did so in 2010. In 2011, I reopened my father’s guitar factory. I feel good that I’ve been able to make his dream a reality.
What are your future plans?
Artistes here tend to look down upon instruments made in India. I want that to change. I want to learn the guitar again, not to become a musician, but to be able to make the best guitar in India.
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