‘Riyaaz karange te raj karange’ | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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‘Riyaaz karange te raj karange’

In city, Sufi jazz singer Tochi Raina lets us in on his livid years of struggle and the stamina to do riyaaz for 18 hours on a trot. After all this struggle, Tochi proudly declares, “Today, I have the capacity to do riyaaz for 18 hours everyday, as I have been following Vipassana meditation for 22 years now. Usually, I do riyaaz from 5 am to 1 pm, as I believe riyaaz karange te raj karange!”

chandigarh Updated: Oct 20, 2012 10:49 IST
Usmeet Kaur

Hailing from a Sikh family of Patiala, Tochi Raina, formerly known as Tarlochan Raina, is apparently a firm believer of numerology. “The name, Tarlochan, gave me a lot of struggle. Whereas Tochi, gave me an instant break in Bollywood,” says Tochi, who has given the industry melodious numbers such as Gal Mithi Mithi Bol (Aisha), Pardesi (Dev D), Ali Re (No One Killed Jessica) and more. Letting us in on his break in the industry with A Wednesday! (2008), he says, “I landed in Mumbai in 2003, but for five years, all I did was build relations, which is the most important task. In 2008, Neeraj Pandey (director and writer of the film) gave me my first commercial break with the song, Bullehshah.”


Specifying that his genre is Sufi jazz, not Sufi rock, he says, “If an artiste wants to be recognised, Bollywood is the place. But that’s because in this country, non-filmy music is dying. The reason for the same is that artistes are not valued here; the talent of a singer is weighed by the amount of money he or she can reel in. No music composer promotes an artiste independently.”

Recalling his long livid years of struggle, Tochi shares, “Even if I belonged to a family that was into music, I was not trained by them. They believed that music did not give them much and did not want the same for me. I had to run away from home at the age of 16. After reaching Delhi, I started learning music from Pandit Vinod Kumar, who is a disciple of Indian classical singer Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Since I had no place to reside and a major dearth of money, I used to sleep at the taxi stand near Moti Bagh Gurudwara for two years. I also had to walk 40 km everyday to reach my destination. From 1987 to 2003, I lived in Delhi where I learnt the tabla as well, and started teaching part time at schools for just R600-800 a month.”

After all this struggle, Tochi proudly declares, “Today, I have the capacity to do riyaaz for 18 hours everyday, as I have been following Vipassana meditation for 22 years now. Usually, I do riyaaz from 5 am to 1 pm, as I believe riyaaz karange te raj karange!”

At Hotel Hometel, Industrial Area, on Friday to release his brother Arvind Raina’s solo album, The Destiny, Tochi adds, “The only good thing that happened to me during the struggle was my sweetheart, Shweta Raina [now his wife, a lyricist and singer]. We were friends for 13 years and got married a few years ago.”

Like all other artistes, does Tochi have his lows? “I have been creating music for myself, not others. So, there is no scope for depression.” About his band, Bandagi, he says, “My vision is beyond Bollywood. I want to make a symphony of 100 musicians.”

On a parting note, he adds, “I rejected about 25 songs in Bollywood because of low lyrical quality. My next projects are Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and Cigarette Ki Tarah.”