In an ironic mismatch of aspirations and reality, Rajesh says he had wanted to become a cricket star and thus had no inkling of what lay in store for him. Kumaar, as he is popularly known, instead became famous for delivering numerous hits in the world of music through his lyrics.
Hailing from Jalandhar, Kumaar has to his credit most songs that have been on people's lips from films such as Ra.One, Om Shanti Om, Dostana, Musafir, Desi Boyz, Murder 2, Thank You, Golmaal 3, Anjaana Anjaani, I Hate Luv Stories, Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, Turning 30, Speedy Singhs, Bittoo Boss, Tum Mile and many others.
Sharing his journey from Punjab's small city to filmdom, Kumaar talks of his inspiration, "The song Aurat Ne Janam Diya Mardon Ko, penned by Sahir Ludhianvi for the film Sadhna (1958), struck a chord with me somewhere, and I decided to become a songwriter. While that was playing on my mind, one day I penned a few lines and showed to professor Anurag Singh at DAV College, Jalandhar. He advised me to go to Mumbai and try my luck at writing lyrics."
In the initial days, it helped Kumaar that his father was a film distributor for some time and so helped his son set up a career. However, the lyricist maintains his journey hasn't been easy, "Making it big in Bollywood hasn't been easy. I have gone through the grind like every newcomer does. My father knew a friend of music composer Raju Singh, and he helped me initially. I got my first break with the title song of hit TV serial, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin."
Following this, Kumaar wrote almost 35 title tracks of TV soaps along with Raju. But the song that catapulted him to fame was Punjabi singer Sukhbir's popular number, Ishq Tera Tadpaave. The lyricist recalls, "That's when I got my first break in films with Plan, in 2002, for which I had penned the song Hota Hai Hota Hai, composed by Vishal and Shekher. The music director duo is one of the strongest support systems I have in Bollywood. I later worked with them for Om Shanti Om also."
There are two other songs that come to Kumaar's mind, which helped in bringing him in the top league of songwriters. "The best songs of my career have been Desi Girl and Ma Da Ladla, both from the film Dostana. Today, I am working with A-league banners of Bollywood and have no shortage of work or money anymore," avers he.
Closer home, Kumaar is responsible for writing hit songs of Punjabi films that include Yaar Anmulle and Fatto De Yaar from Jatt and Juliet. Says he, "Music director Jaidev Kumar encouraged me to pen lyrics for Punjabi films, and so I wrote Dil Wali Kothi for Mel Kara De Rabba, which was a hit. After this, I penned Gaddi Moudan Ge for Dharti and got many offers to write for various other Punjabi films."
What goes into penning lyrics that become a hit?
Kumaar says it's his observations of the society, and adds, "My lyrics are a fusion of rural as well as urban musings, which is the reason that listeners can connect with them."
His upcoming projects include songs of Punjabi films Carry On Jatta, Sadi Love Story, Best of Luck and Pinky Mogewali. But he has other things on his mind, such as turning a scriptwriter. "I eventually plan to write the script of a comic caper which will have its dose of action," he signs off.