Lovingly called by his friends as Kohinoor for his ability to mimic almost everything under the sky, Ghulam Mohidin Raina has mastered hundreds of voices that he can reproduce easily. Umer Beigh listens to some of the voices that Raina mimics.
Of his fourteen years experience in an age-old art of mimicry, he has learnt above 1400 voices of different animals, insects, birds, machines, musical instruments and women.
Ghulam Mohidin Raina aka ‘Kohinoor-Raina’, a 23-year-old resident of Ganderbal district is a talented amuser who knows how to imitate others and entertain people.
Raina, who works with state’s tourism department on contractual basis, amuses foreign and local tourists with his mimicry.
In order to have a secure future, Raina is doing a diploma degree from a college in Srinagar. He is famous among his college friends for his skills to imitate almost every voice he hears.
Raina wants to master the art of mimicry so that his name gets listed in ‘Guinness Book of World Records’. But for that he needs better platforms and exposure which according to him is missing in the state. He says, he will be more than happy if he finds a place in Hollywood or Bollywood.
Last year, during ‘Sonzal’ festival, held at Kashmir University, in which 58 different colleges participated, he won first prize for stage-mimicry and second in acting.
“As a small kid I never knew I can produce 1400 voices. But what I definitely knew was that I am destined to become famous,” he says.
He first tried to mimic when he was just 8. “I think I did well. But my parents didn’t approve my talent at first. They thought it will only distract me from my studies,” he said.
As a kid Raina would sit along in his room and rehearse for hours. His parents got worried as Raina confined himself to his room most of the time. “They though I have lost my mind. It was really difficult to make them understand that I am all right,” he recalls.
But once his name and photograph appeared in a local newspaper, he became famous among friends and relatives and everything changed. “At that time I could produce just 103 voices,” he said.
But his father was still reluctant to let Raina follow his heart. It all changed when Raina’s talent was appreciated in an all India competition. “After the competition, my father did not stop me at all,” he remembers.
Few years ago, he did three programs for Srinagar Doordarshan: Bachu Ki Doniya, Aloha, Poshe Waer.
Raina claims that he was approached by a number of New Delhi based television channels to appear in their programmes.
When asked how he manages to remembers 1400 voices, he says, “I always used to write down all new voices that I self discovered with time. The number only increased with time,” he says.
Raina can produce sound of flute, dog’s howling, sea-goat, fox and tiger. “I don’t know whether it makes sense or not. But I can even sing using different voices,” he claims.
Raina was in 3rd standard when he successfully imitated a lamb voice, “For days I kept imitating his voice. I found it interesting to copy and communicate such voices with my friends,” he says.
Since then he has won almost every event he has participated in. “In that brief spell I was continuously adding more voices to my vocabulary. It was just 37 voices at the beginning, then I practiced more and the count reached to 103 and at present it is around 1400,” he says.
Raina, a known face in his area, met chief minister Omar Abdullah in 2011. “Once he saw my awards and other documents he appreciated my talent. He told me to submit my documents with Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, retired chief secretary who was sitting next to him,” he says.
But few days later when Raina went to submit his documents, Rasool told him that chief minister is not-approachable, he cannot take his documents.
After that Raina wrote a letter to Prime Minister for help. “I wrote to him but till now I haven’t got any response from him as well,” he says.