On My Pinboard: Raj Shekhar

Raj Shekhar

Hindi poet Raj Shekhar made his debut in Bollywood as a lyricist with ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ in 2011. Born and brought up in Madhepura, Bihar, Raj secured his master’s degree in
Hindi literature from Delhi University and is currently residing in Mumbai.

He has penned lyrics for the movies ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’, ‘Hichki’, ‘Veere Di Wedding’, ‘Tumbbad’ and ‘Uri’. ‘Jabariya Jodi’ and ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ are his upcoming movies. 

In 2018, Raj was conferred with ‘Kaavy Samman’ award by Hindi Academy, Delhi for his contribution to poetry. He also contributes to children’s literature as a writer and translator.

The lyricist was in the city recently for the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.

Music

Venkatesh Kumar

“In recent times, I have become a fan of Hindustani legend Venkatesh Kumar. I listened to his songs on a loop for a month when I discovered his music. I started paying attention to the elements of the genre only after listening to him. Now, I travel to attend his concerts.

I am also a fan of A R Rahman; he is a revolutionary. I am waiting to work with him. Other than that, I listen to all kinds of music — from B B King to Mohammed Rafi, but I haven’t been able to develop a taste for metal and heavy metal music.”

Film

The Shawshank Redemption

“I am a fan of thriller films. ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is the film I watch when things are not going well. Aamir Khan’s ‘Lagaan’ is also another favourite. I also admire the poetic quality of Imtiaz Ali’s movies.”

Travel

Nigeria

“The visit to a small village in the sub-Saharan region of Nigeria is my favourite. It was quite an adventurous trip as we had to travel during harsh weather.

I like places that have a rich history and delicious cuisines. Also, I prefer mountains over beaches.”

Literature

“I am a student of literature, so I can’t pick a favourite. I admire the works of Pablo Neruda, Kabir, Amir Khusrow, Nirala and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. I am also a fan of haiku for its imagery.”

Inspiration

Shailendra

“I am inspired by different things in different categories. As a lyricist, I look up to Shailendra, Sahir Ludhianvi and Gulzar. Contemporary lyricists Irshad Kamil, Amitabh Bhattacharya and Varun Grover also inspire me to do something new.”

Food

Sattu paratha

“I love sattu paratha, a Bihar special, and mustard fish. Except for pork and beef, I am a fan of all kinds of cuisines. Also, when I was in Bengaluru, I had gunpowder rice in Nagarjuna; it was divine.”

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