A lyrical beginning

Author, columnist, TV writer Dinesh Raheja adds yet another feather to his cap
Actors Mishal Raheja and Tanvee Kishore feature in the video of Dinesh Raheja’s first song, Aye Shama
Actors Mishal Raheja and Tanvee Kishore feature in the video of Dinesh Raheja’s first song, Aye Shama
Updated on Dec 07, 2019 11:46 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

Raat ko hi nahin
Ab din ko bhi jal aye shama
Reh jaaye koi arzoo na justajoo kahin
Tu Zindagi ka jashan mana

The soulful lyrics of the recently released song Aye Shama that urge you to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment of your life, beautifully sung by Hema Sardesai in a slow, ghazal format, are stunning. Who’s the lyricist, you ask. The answer is somewhat surprising.

The credits on the video state that the song was written and composed by Dinesh Raheja, a name that rings a bell in various contexts. Raheja is an author (The Hundred Luminaries of Hindi Cinema, Indian Cinema, The Bollywood Saga among others), a poet (101 Haiku by Dinesh Raheja), a columnist, a film historian and a scriptwriter for TV serials (Just Mohabbat, Kasamh Se). Clearly, all this is not enough for him, because when he decided to explore and conquer newer territories, he just went all out and did it.

“I have been writing poetry for several years as I am very fond of the Hindi language, and was always keen to write a song, but I wasn’t sure I could do it,” says Raheja. “A few months ago, my music teacher, Kriti Da, told me to try, which made me bold enough to show him the lyrics I’d earlier written for Aye Shama.”

Just do it

The song came to Raheja “like a godsend.” “Both the words and the tune came simultaneously to my mind,” he says. “While I was talking to Vidya Balan for the foreword of my Haiku book, I sang snatches of the song without a trace of embarrassment. I guess it was playing in my head all the time.”

The inspiration for the song came not from any particular person or event, but simply from his own life. “Life inspired me; maturity taught me that you have to make the most of your life and not postpone happiness,” says Raheja. “I want to tell the younger generation to live life to the fullest NOW! I began learning music when I was in my late 40s, but it’s never too late to pursue a new art or a new source of happiness.”

Everyone who heard the lyrics gave him good feedback, including musician Anu Malik who said, ‘Such a beautifully worded song. I can’t believe a journalist can compose music so wonderfully and melodiously.’ But Raheja was not sure the lyrics would find favour with the younger generation: Aye Shama is certainly not danceable. So for validation from a millennial, he asked his nephew, the actor and singer Mishal Raheja, to listen to the song.

The song urges everyone to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment
The song urges everyone to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment

“Mishal loved the composition and encouraged me to have it recorded,” says Raheja. And despite being well connected in the film industry, Raheja decided to compose the music himself. “My training in music gave me confidence and I decided to give it a shot,” he says. “I asked Victor Dey, who sings very well, sing it to the music from a harmonium and recorded it on my mobile phone. When Mishal heard it, he even agreed to be in its video.”

Flavours of life

The video features Mishal Raheja, best known for playing Dutta Bhau in Laagi Tujhse Lagan and Akash Sehgal in Love Story, and Tanvee Kishore, a known face in Marathi serials. “I brainstormed with Mishal on the video concept but though I was keen to have a happy ending, he thought that a tragic ending with a sliver of hope would go better with the song,” says Raheja.

Raheja also wanted the song in a female voice, and was quite sure who he wanted the singer to be. “Hema Sardesai agreed to sing it, though she was a bit hesitant initially because she’s known for peppy numbers (Aawara Bhawrein, Badal Pe Paaon Hai ), and this song is more like a ghazal.”

The younger members of Raheja’s family love Aye Shama, which gives him hope that young India will love it too. “Party anthems or peppy tracks may definitely be the flavour today, but variety is the key and sometimes it’s good to slow down and opt for a different flavor,” he says. “Our lives are like a flickering candle, very fragile, anything can happen anytime, so burn your candle from both ends. Keep yourself happy and make others happy too, be compassionate, be loving all the time. That’s the message of the song.”

Follow @VeenuSingh12 on Twitter

From HT Brunch,December 8, 2019

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