As a child flourishing adult in Madhepura and afterwards Bhagalpur in Bihar, Raj Shekhar thrived in a literary ambience. “Ghar mein hamesha kitabein thi. (There were always books in a house.) My grandfather’s elder hermit — we lived in a corner family — was a Hindi teacher, and he would recite a work of these giants of Hindi literature, Jai Shankar Prasad, Nirala and Mahadevi Varma. Even my father, a rancher — he grows wheat and rice — was really concerned in literature,” says Shekhar, 37. But he was a customarily one who felt a titillate to write — poems and stories.
The flavours of that childhood creeps into Shekhar’s lyrics. Here he is, regulating an evocative mixture of spices in one of a many renouned songs of 2011: Manu Bhaiyya in Tanu Weds Manu.
“Ambiya elaichi dalchini aur kesar/ Sukhayegi Tanu Karol Bagh ke chhat par/ Phir poshta pisega / Kalounji kutegi / Martbaan se afwaah uthegi.” The film, a rom-com set in Kanpur became a exile hit, in some partial since of a strain and a songs, generally Rangrez small and Kitne dafe. A new strain he has written, Jaane de, sung by Atif Aslam, for a movie, Qarib Qarib Singlle, is personification on loop again. The strain is about a adore that competence have been. But instead of anguish a loss, it urges we to let go.
From a child meddlesome in novel to a lyricist whose work evokes a mislaid ways of a parochial life was not a singular true line. One road took Shekhar to a coaching centre for engineering students in Patna. “I attended classes for a year. But within a initial 10 days, it became transparent that this is not for me,” he says.
So, Shekhar headed to Delhi University, and enrolled in Kirori Mal College (KMC) for a Bachelor’s in Hindi. “I remember we was on a Magadh Express, nervous. It was a feeling of streamer into a unknown. we had a Walkman with me, a used one. we would customarily listen to Gulzar sahab’s songs yet on that trip, we listened to English songs. One was Everything we do (Bryan Adams) and another was a lane by Michael Learns to Rock. we suspicion we was too cool,” says Shekhar.
But he struggled with English, like large others during DU. “Even my Hindi was not pure. we would contend ‘sh’ instead of ‘sa’, and would place a nukhta (the pointer that differentiates a ‘ja’ sound from ‘za’) wherever we thought. Also, being a Bihari in Delhi University in 1999 was not easy. The word itself was used as an abuse,” he says.
What non-stop doors for him was fasten Players, a play multitude of a college. “Kewal Arora, a clergyman in-charge, told us, ‘This is not an behaving school. This is only to capacitate we to voice a questions in your mind.’ KMC altered my worldview. My ideas about gender, society, a dispute in my mind, all got addressed by Players,” says Shekhar, who acted in and destined utterly a few plays.
After his MA, he did a brief army during a heading news channel as a writer. “That’s where we learnt MS Word and how control was so important”.
Mumbai beckoned soon, as his friends — Himanshu Sharma (script author of Tanu Weds Manu 1 and 2, Raanjhanaa) Ali Abbas Zaffar (director of Sultan and Mere Brother ki Dulhan) and Zeeshan Ayyub (actor from Raaes and Tubelight) — done a beeline for a party industry. “I hated a city on my initial visit.” He returned to Delhi with a thought of posterior an MPhil in Hindi. But he was behind in Mumbai in 2010, dynamic to severe it out.
“I started as an partner executive with Aanand L Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu. we was so bad with logistics that we would get screamed during a lot. we was an random lyricist,” he says. It started when he was creation a list of illusive lyricists for a film. Gulzar was on tip of a wishlist followed by Irshad Kamil. Sharma, a author of a film, suggested that he be a manikin lyricist — a substitute author who helps a strain executive compartment a genuine lyricist is finalised. “I wrote Mann Bhaiya and Rangrez that really day. When we narrated a songs to Aanand, he got really romantic and pronounced that he would keep these songs in a film. And that was that,” says Shekhar.
Getting that initial mangle was easy in hindsight. His onslaught began after. “The radio stations desired a songs, and so did a masses. But, somehow, that did not beget a kind of work for me as it should have,” says Shekhar. A duration of relations shade followed, yet Shekhar kept writing. Many films did not see a light of a day. Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) brought him behind to a tip of a charts with hits like Ghaani baavri and Move on.
Meanwhile, Shekhar had started Majnu Ka Tila, a communication beginning where he sings, recites and reads his creations to an audience. He has trafficked with it to many literary festivals around a country. One of his poems, Arab Sagar Ke Aas Paas, is frequently requested. It touches on a stream discuss of “who is a outsider?” “I trust that everybody is political, and those who contend they are not, they are fibbing or they don’t know what they are saying. Every large lyricist, each large thespian will move his/her personal politics into his art,” says Shekhar, who is severely desirous by Shailendra and Gulzar.
The subsequent year has mixed releases lined adult for him, starting with Aanand L Rai’s Nimmo, a film set in a city in Madhya Pradesh about an eight-year-old child who is in adore with an comparison girl. “Looks like things are looking up. But if not, jaane de,” he says, with a shrug.