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Auction threat to legend’s pride

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 24: The popularity of Akshay Mohanty and his music has grown over the years, the brand that has developed around the legend is exploited commercially but his family continues to go through untoward circumstances.

In a major blow to the pride of Akshay’s family, a nationalised bank had served an auction notice for their ancestral house as they had defaulted in paying a loan taken four years ago on instalment basis.

However, the family managed to restore their pride by paying off an instalment to ward off the auction threat.

“The bank officials had sent us a notice in October last year to remind of an instalment we had missed because of some personal issues. But since the events to observe the birth and death anniversary (October 12 and November 17 respectively) of my father were organised after we received the notice, the bank officials were of the view that we had garnered a lot of royalty or profit from these events,” said Mitrabhanu Mohanty, one of the legend’s two sons.

“We had to explain them that we do not receive any funds from these events. As we have made a payment now, they have assured us not to hurt our reputation this way again,” he said.

Mitrabhanu said his father was a proud man and he was a pauper when he died.

“We are also self-respecting Odias just like him and we never ask or plead for financial assistance from anybody whosoever. The family is deeply depressed for the unnecessary embarrassment. But we do not want to complain or lament. We will find our way,” he said.

When the musician, singer and litterateur passed away, the state government had announced that a plot would be given in his name where his memories will be preserved. Also, it was proposed that events would be organised in his memory. But all these promises have been forgotten.

A park at Kanika Road, inaugurated by chief minister Naveen Patnaik in Akshay’s honour in 2004, stands locked and uncared for.

Though the legend’s songs are turned into caller tunes, their dubbed versions played in cars and many contests held in his name, the family doesn’t get any royalty for dubbed CDs, stage performances and other use of Akshay’s creative work.

“People sing his songs all the time and remix them too. The brand Akshay Mohanty is used commercially, but the people behind him, his family, who made him what he was, have been neglected. Nothing has been done to preserve his works or propagate his literature.

“Whenever his works have been published or launched in different forms, there is hardly any royalty that the family gets. Both the state government and all his followers need to take initiatives,” said Surya Deo, film scholar and good friend of Akshay.

Members of Akshay Mohanty Foundation, which is dedicated to promote and preserve of the legend’s music and works, said there was little scope to help his family.

“We invite great artistes and felicitate them with an award in the honour of Akshay Mohanty so that people outside the state can understand his works and remember him.

“Also, we organise contests among different age groups of the younger generation at the Akshay Sangeet segment so that the next generation knows him well. Organising all this hardly leaves us with any finances to help his family. We also have limitations,” said Bibhu Das, president of the foundation.

“We will soon come up with the Akshay Mohanty School of Contemporary Music in association with the Ravenshaw University, for which work has already begun,” said Das.