At 67, dressed in his PJs and a pair of sequinned loafers, Biddu continues to exude the charisma of an ’80s pop star. No surprise for someone who’s spent over five decades of his life making some of Indian pop music’s most memorable tunes.
Shuttling between Mumbai, Goa, London and Spain, Biddu has charted out a yearly travel calendar that takes him to “happy, sunny places”. “At this age, I want to avoid the cold and snow. It’s a nomadic life, but whether I’m at Marbela or Mumbai, my people know me well enough to know that I like a masala dosa or two fried eggs for breakfast.”
The Disco Deewane singer is in the city to promote his debut novel, Curse of the Godman, which he penned three years ago. Coming a year after his autobiography Made In India, which captures the singer-songwriter-producer’s journey from Bangalore to Kolkata to London, ask him if writing is his new calling and he says, “I wanted to write this novel for a long time now. But my publishers said they would only publish it if I wrote my autobiography. So I sold myself to the devil.”
He recalls, “Four years ago, it struck me that I didn’t want to do music anymore. I wanted to open a restaurant or write a book— but the story of my novel hit me sooner.”
Curse Of The Godman, a mix of “adventure, mysticism, romance and murder” is set in 1950s India and is the story of a tea plantation in Darjeeling, terrorised by a tiger. And like his prolific years as a singer, the new writer too isn’t leaving any page unturned, literally. Ahead of its launch, he reveals that he’s already finished writing his second book: “It’s set in Mumbai and deals with the sexual awakening of a young boy.”
For a man who delivered some of the biggest hits in his heyday, and still rakes in royalties, was it difficult to change career lanes? “It got boring. I’ve done this for over 50 years now. So the day I decided I had had enough, I went and gave away all my music equipment. My wife thought I had gone mad.”
For now, Biddu is content living life on his own terms. “A regular day in my life involves long walks on the beach, yoga, lunches with friends and a little bit of writing, At this age, there’s little to complain.”
Biddu’s musical highlights
Curse of the Godman is out on HarperCollins for R 299. It will be launched at Crossword Bookstore, Kemps Corner on January 13.
He won the Grammy for Kung Fu Fighting, in the best selling single category.
Till date, he has sold 38 million records.
He produced Disco Deewane which sold 60 million records worldwide.
Biddu produced music for Qurbani, with songs like Aap Jaisa Koi.
He became the pioneer of Indi-pop with his pop album Disco Deewane and Alisha Chinai’s Made In India.
Till date, royalties from Kung Fu Fighting get him anywhere between 60,000 pounds-70,000 pounds a year.
He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Rolling Stone Magazine.