‘I survived on the roads of Mumbai’
Singer Brijesh Shandalya of Banno Tera Swagger fame talks about the upbeat number he has sung for Murugadoss’ Spyder
You may know Brijesh Shandilya for being the singer of hit songs like Banno Tera Swagger (Tanu Weds Manu), Jai Jai Jai Jai Ho (Jai Ho), Mera Nachan Nu (Air Lift), and Tujhme Hai Swag (Munna Michael). He says it hasn’t come easy and he doesn’t mean it like celebrities usually do. He really didn’t have it easy. For one, he ran away from his Uttar Pradesh home, and for about two years, he survived on the roads of Mumbai and did odd jobs to sustain himself. “My first break came with Hooriyan from Oye Lucky Lucky Oye.” He always wanted to be a singer. “I think I’ve inherited my singing talent from my mother. She used to sing during aartis, bhajans and festivals in our place.”
Brijesh is excited about having lent his voice for a song in Murugadoss’ bilingual, Spyder, titled Muchukotta, Muchukotta. “The lyricist of the Telugu version, Rama Jogayya Sastry, recommended my name to Harris Jayaraj. Murugadoss liked the Telugu song so much that he retained me for the Tamil version too,” he says. “It will be a foot-tapping number, and the hook of the song feels almost Arabic.”
The singer is all praise for Harris. “He gives a lot of freedom and encouragement to singers. There’s always a a healthy work environment maintained that makes sure that we are all in the zone,” he says. It mustn’t have been easy for Brijesh to sing South Indian songs? “I've sung in 13 Indian languages including Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Marathi. It is hard work getting the pronunciation right but I try my best to sound convincing,” he says. He usually writes down the lyrics in Hindi. “My first Telugu song was for Sarrainodu, and it was received really well. I don’t think music sees any difference between languages,” he adds.
Brijesh finds inspiration in legendary singer Kishore Kumar’s work, and says he’d listen to his songs all the time. “He was an effortless and versatile singer. The best thing about him is that he was a common man’s singer. Like him, I want to have my own distinct style,” he says. He rues that today’s singers have a shorter shelf life. “It’s difficult to create an identity for yourself, and many lose faith early on. I didn’t give up and now, I enjoy what I’m doing.”