Music for him is 'a straight handshake with the Almighty, without being devotional'. His friends and contemporaries think he's 'a crazy man'. But, as you stand next to him in premises of Chandigarh Press Club where he was present on Thursday to launch his third music album, Ishqq Faaqeeri you witness a scene of sheer excitement. Right then, a boy in his 20s approaches Bakshi with a twinkle in his eye and says, "Sir, maine chotte hote TV par aapka Mitti Deya Baweya gaana suna tha. Main aapka tab se fan hoon." This was the song Bakshi sang for DD National's serial Ajnabi, in which he played the role of a terrorist.
We all know Arun Bakshi as a veteran Bollywood actor and singer. Today, he has made a name for himself in Mumbai, but he traces his roots to Ludhiana, where was born and brought up. Ask him when he left his birthplace to pursue his love for acting or singing and he says, "We live in moments, not years. Years are only used to count someone's age. Otherwise, they don't hold any significance. A three-hour film we see on 70 mm takes a year in the making."
He does, however, tell us about his first break as a singer: "Music director Laxmikant Pyarelal gave me a break in Subhash Ghai's Karma, where I got to sing only four lines. For the first 10 songs I sang, I didn't take money. Unn gaanon ke liye sirf paan khaya maine. I used to say 'paan khila do'."
A firm believer in living life differently, he says, "There is a certain style to life. If we don't adapt that style, we leave a very bland impression."
The singer, however, never took formal training in music. "Back in Ludhiana, I went to a lot of people to learn music. I don't know why, but everyone ignored my requests. That's why I make sure that I don't ignore anyone," he shares.
Coming back to the reason behind his visit, his third album Ishqq Faaqeeri, which has a total of eight songs, he says, "My previous two albums were Mitti Deya Baweya (1990) and Sadke Jawan (2004). I have been working on Ishqq Faaqeeri for the past five years. Two songs are written by my mother, Ved Bakshi."
Bakshi manages to amaze you when he says, "When I had to do this album, I was looking for inspiration. One day, I came across a community on Orkut was created by a girl. The title was 'Koi mujhe Bol Mitti Deya Baweya gana de do'. That's where I got my inspiration from."
Given the skepticism about music albums not doing well anymore, we wonder what made Bakshi launch another one. "My motive is not to earn money. The real earning is when you comes across such fans," says he, pointing towards the young fan in the crowd.
Next on his cards is a promotional tour for his album -- Punjab, Delhi, Mumbai, Dubai. "On February 19th, I'm being conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award in Delhi," says the actor, who will be seen acting in Humein Toh Loot Liya, Shukla Street Mumbai and Bollywood Villa next.
While bidding adieu, Bakshi shares a strand of his Mumbai life: "I have two houses in Mumbai one is for my family and the other is where I meet my isolation. The latter is a place I don't like to clean. Very few friends are allowed to visit. And the ones who do, wash their utensils after having a cup of tea."