I am AR Rahman,” says Sushil Kumar Prajapati, “In Chandigarh, that is.” The 35-year-old look-alike claims he has a lot in common with the Academy, now Grammy Award winner, musical maestro AR Rahman.
He plays the keyboard, composes music and uncannily enough, even looks like him. And apparently, he informs us, he gets showered with compliments for his accomplishments too.
“People have been calling to congratulate me all day. TV news channels came to me to take my pictures because Rahman won some international awards, I’m not sure which ones,” says Prajapati. Instead of an identity crisis, the self-proclaimed artiste who plays the guitar for a few Punjabi bands in Chandigarh, prefers to call his life an odd twist of fate. “Whenever I work somewhere, they all refer to me as AR Rahman, and that makes me want to do more with my life. But it’s funny that one person is that rich, and the other, a pauper,” he says.
When asked why he hasn’t tried to make their worlds meet, since he is so confident, snap comes the answer: “I tried. Rahman was performing at a concert in Delhi, so I went to meet him. But because we look so identical, the crowd went crazy clicking pictures and we didn’t get to talk,” says he. “I know he’s a huge celebrity, but if I were him, and I knew that somewhere, someone was born with my face, ‘main uski jindagi sawaar deta’ (I would have made his life worthwhile).” I think he’s scared that I will come and take over his place in Mumbai. He knows that I am also a musician, and that’s why he has never called me there.”
Beyond the judgement, he doesn’t forget to mention that if ever given a chance, he would request Rahman to help him out. At the end of the day, the part-time shop owner, who occasionally breaks into a Punjabi song to prove his talent, knows where he belongs and claims that he doesn’t want to come to Mumbai. “I am well-known and happy here. I don’t know how that city works, so I doubt I’ll ever make it,” Prajapati concludes.