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Jannat’s a best-seller

Ankur Tewari’s debut album has sold 3,000 copies within a week of release.

music Updated: Apr 12, 2010 14:15 IST
Sharin Bhatti
Sharin Bhatti
Hindustan Times

"If you don’t know where you’re headed, then you know where you’re going. I never have a Plan B,” 32-year-old Ankur Tewari will tell you just how he arrived into the mad circus of creative entertainers as screenwriter/songwriter/singer/filmmaker and now even an actor. Tewari’s debut album, Jannat, co-produced by Pakistani musician Xulfi, from Call (who also wrote ‘Laaree chooti’ from Ek Chhalis ki Last Local) just released a week ago, after ten years of labour of love. In its opening week, the album sold out the whole batch of around 3000 copies.

Ten years on...
And why won’t it? Hindi Rock’s freshest rediscovery, Tewari’s band Ankur Tewari and the Ghalat Family have been hovering around most live music venues lately singing tracks like ‘Chand chahiye’, ‘Jannat’ and a whole list of familiar tracks.Popular Mumbai band expats from Sid Cuotto, Pozy Dhar and Johan Pais form the other arms of the Ghalat Family, to release, Jannat, the Hindi/ Urdu melodic rock.

Reference to context?
The hugely successful Mohit Chauhan-crooned single, the guitar acoustic, ‘Sabse peeche hum khade’ (which was recently resung by Tewari for the movie Aao Wish Karein) for a meek, critically-acclaimed multiplex-run, Let’s Enjoy, is an instant recall. Incidentally, Tewari directed the film, while his friend, Sidhartha Anand produced it.“Sidhartha and I started a digital movies festival called the International Digital Video Film Festival, and got lucky with Shekhar Kapur who adopted our idea. The idea was to collect funds for later festivals and atleast have a screening space of our own,” Tewari muses.

He fortuitously also ended up writing ‘Bheegi bheegi’ for Ek Challis ki Last Local. A gamut of music videos also followed, like ‘Kangana’ by Dr Zeus, ‘Armaan’ by Kailash Kher and ‘More glassy’, by the Sona Family, which had Tewari sitting behind the monitor yelling out his directorial instructions. Yana Gupta also owes her new album, I Believe in Love, to Tewari’s production ability.

Movies and more
Sometime later, Tewari also ran into Loveleen Singh, and read for Jamal’s (Dev Patel) role in Slumdog Millionaire, but ended up doing a guest appearance as a call centre chappie who takes time off work to let Jamal trace his brother on his terms, “a pivotal role that couldn’t be written off,”smirks Tewari.

Good friend Zoya Akhtar then bullied him into playing first assistant director to Sanjay Kapoor in her Luck By Chance.“Zoya got all her friends to do odd things in the movie. I couldn’t say no,” he shrugs.Tewari has an excuse for everything.

Of course, movie appearances are a regular feature for Tewari, who acted in and composed for Rajat Kapoor and Vinay Pathak’s Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, directed by Saurabh Shukhla, along with fellow madcap musician Sid Coutto.

Starting out as a six-year-old, self-taught and jamroom groomed musician at IIT Rorkee, where he grew up to find himself rudderless and bowless, literally, as a hotel management student in Bhopal, and then wandering the roads of Mumbai and Delhi penniless to try and sell his songs — Tewari, at most times, was unaware he was struggling.

Coming up next
“People ask me what I want to do and what I am doing. The truth is I don’t know. I am just walking forward and things just happen to me,” Tewari’s nonchalant sigh can almost be read as a Forrest Gump saga of most extraordinary events. Only this is no movie, no mockery – its real life.

Right now though, Tewari has figured out what he wants out of his ‘current life.’ After screenwriting for Mukesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films for Tum Mile directed by Kunal Deshmukh. There is also Saif Ali Khan’s home production Thugee directed by Homi Adjania.

Two hours later, the pen is giving way and there is still more Tewari’s life would throw up. For now though, there is just the comma to a ‘story so far…’ Intermission!