“Aihei Baikunthpur sei Manjeet Kumar ho, Lalu Yadav saathei aihei Nitish Kumar ho.” (This is Manjeet Kumar of Baikanthpur reminding you that Lalu and Nitish are now friends.)
Ahead of the polls in Bihar, candidates are turning to music to woo voters with simple songs like these, giving business to small-time singers and companies. Music has tended to have a bigger impact on the state’s masses who love rustic songs, many of them set to tunes of popular Bollywood numbers.
In the lead are fringe leaders unlikely to find favour with mainstream parties that prefer advertisement agencies.
But even Lalu Prasad-led RJD is pushing for ‘desi’ tracks to bring crowds to the Swabhiman rally in Patna on August 30, the first big show of strength after he announced a tie-up with the ruling JD (U). Video-makers in Patna said they are already working on orders for the rally.
“Politicians want publicity materials in local language, mostly in Bhojpuri, since people in rural areas identify with their tunes and lyrics…So we have based the numbers on Bhojpuri hits by famous folk singers like Pawan Singh and Khesari Lal,” said Pradeepji, owner of PG Super Sound studio, which is also composing songs in Magahi, Vajjika, Angika and Maithili.
The budgets for songs vary from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh or more. Most songs are played from campaign vans — usually auto-rickshaws fitted with sound systems — to play the music recorded on CDs or pen-drives.