Popular music video DJ Waley Babu recently crossed 100 million views on YouTube. But rapper Badshah, who made the song, has apparently had enough of it. In a candid conversation, with Rohit Pramar, the famous rapper speaks about music, battling depression, his upcoming reality show and more…
Imitation is flattery
I know there have been many versions of DJ Waley Babu. There is Mataka Jagrata which I like. Then there is group of aunties playing dholak and singing DJ Waley Babu. I found it very innovative. I think it has become a folk song now. But personally I have had too much of DJ Waley Babu now. People keep asking me to play it everywhere.
The story behind it
I was in Haryana for a wedding party once where I heard an auntyji requesting the DJ in Hindi, “DJ waley babu mere gaana baja dedo.” I just took the line and made it to song.
He’s got the score!
I wrote my first song when I think I was in 7th or 8th standard. I wrote it for my mathematics teacher. He wasn’t really a good teacher. But I am good in mathematics. In fact, I’m a gold medalist. My CAT score was 98.75. I studied engineering but I believe everybody is an artist in India regardless of what they study. If not music, dance, or acting, they will know something else or the other. I think I’m a musician who just happens to be an engineer. I did it mostly for my parents. Like a side investment.
My favourite song
It is Kar Gayi Chull. I didn’t think the song would work. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I could make this song. But it all worked well. Karan Johar sir listened to the song and wanted to make it a part of his film. He must have really liked the song. I actually wrote it only for myself. I thought I would make it and play it my car.
Reminiscing early days
I still remember I was in college when we had a festival and I requested them to allow me to perform on the stage for 15 minutes. The band Euphoria was also there. So from 15 minutes, it became 30 and then an hour. So Palash sir arrived on stage and teased me, “Beta, tu hi ga le. Hum nikalte hai.” (Laughs)
No offense at all
I know there are songs in the market with dirty lyrics but I keep my songs clean. I wrote the song Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai and I think it is one of the best party songs ever. Not because it’s my song but it is the truth. I wrote that song for a Disney film and I was asked not to even use a word like ‘saala’. So it is probably the cleanest party songs ever. I think the family audience loves me a lot. There is DJ Waley Babu as well which has some undertones. But nobody has really taken an offense to my songs. I intend to keep it that way. I don’t mean to offend anyone.
Want to make good music
It may sound clichéd but my only aim is to make good songs and music. It’s tough to remain consistent and make good songs. So I feel that I am lucky but as well as I am working hard for it. I want to keep my bread and butter going.
I meet a lot of kids and they get really upset if I am wearing my sunglasses. They ask me to wear it because they feel I don’t look like Badshah. I’m a chilled out person in real life. What you see on TV is very different than I am in real.
Fighting the image
Artists don’t make their own image. The audience does it and it’s artist’s job to fight against it. Those who succeed get to reinvent themselves whereas others try to live up to that image. So I’m slowly trying to get out of my comfort zone. I’m composing full songs for films; I am also judging this show called Dil Hai Hindustani. But I will do what I know and can do. I can’t do something I don’t know.
Thankful to fans
I don’t know till when I am will be in demand. I’m happy that the audience is listening to my songs right now. When they stop, I guess I will figure out something. Maybe open a restaurant. (Laughs)
Judging Dil Hai Hindustani
Karan sir will judge the personality, Shekhar Ravjiani will judge the composition, Shalmali Kholgade will judge the singing and I will have just fun on the show. So I am very excited for it.
It was a tough period for me. I did my engineering but I didn’t want to do a job. I even went through medication for six months but everything was normal soon. I recently spoke to Alia Bhatt’s sister Shaheeh as well. She has battled depression too and she recently spoke about it. It’s really brave of her to come out like that and speak. I feel most people are depressed because they are forced to go against their will. Do what you like and love and you will always be happy.