Achchhai Pandey's witty songs drag the spotlight on India's social concerns
Among the many social issues that Achchhai Pandey likes to sing about, the one that he is concerned with the most is “inflation ki samasya”. His lyrics, laced with wit and a hint of sarcasm, are about onions selling at Rs 100 a kilo, and cylinders and stoves fleeing from kitchens. Dal is unaffordable to most at Rs 80, mitwa, he rues.
On August 29, Pandey, a 29-year-old Uttabharatiya folk singer, will enthuse commuters at the Sakinaka Metro Station with a powerhouse performance of Hindi and Bhojpuri songs. “Inflation is not the only pressing issue right now. Think about how regional languages are disappearing. Children know ABCD but struggle with Hindi alphabets.”
Originally an orchestra singer who used to sing “filmy” songs at weddings and bhakti songs at Navratri celebrations in Bhadohi district of UP, Pandey received vocal training at the Prayag Sangeet Samiti in Allahabad. After meeting rejection at a reality show audition in Delhi, Pandey moved to Mumbai in 2011 in search of a job. Ending up with marketing jobs in banks, Pandey recalls, “I hardly met my targets.
Instead, I’d wait for Sundays.” Pandey joined the talent pool formed by the National Streets of Performing Arts (NSPA) after watching one of their street performances at Borivali Station. Soon, the scales tilted, and he found himself singing more often, and quit his job. I can’t stand to be away from ‘work’ now,” he smiles.
Pandey routinely gets invited to perform at festivals, but says he is happiest when among the aam aadmi. He usually performs with his harmonium, but his Saturday performance will be bereft of instruments since, as he rightly fears, “The Virar local is too crowded; I am sure my harmonium will be smashed.”
What: Achchhai Pandey’s Uttarbharatiya folk songs street performance
When: August 29, 10 am
Where: Saki Naka Metro Station