Dad wanted him to join Army, he ran away to try to be next Rafi

Sep 13, 2014, 07:00 IST | Shirish Vaktania

The teenager left his home in UP two months ago and landed in Mumbai, where he was told he needed to be at least 18 to audition; decided to wait tables in restaurants till he came of age

With dreams of becoming the next Mohammad Rafi or Sonu Nigam — his two idols — in his eyes, and lyrics to nearly 1,600 songs penned by him in his satchel, 16-year-old Siddharth Kumar left his Meerut house two months ago to escape pressure from his father to follow in his footsteps and join the Indian Army.

Siddharth Kumar
Starry-eyed: Siddharth Kumar with one of the songs penned by him. Pic/Hanif Patel

Determined to tread a path of his own making, Kumar landed in Mumbai and immediately started knocking on the doors of studios, including Yash Raj, T-series and Balaji, whose addresses he had noted off the internet before running away from home.
Being told that he had to be at least 18 to audition did not shake his resolve to be the voice of Bollywood stars, and he decided to wait tables in restaurants, simultaneously honing his craft, till he came of age.

A brilliant student, having scored 91% in his Std XII exams, Kumar also took time out to teach his co-workers at the restaurants that he worked in.

Kumar’s worried parents, meanwhile, registered a missing complaint with the Meerut police, but heard nothing about him until Thursday, when the cops discovered that he had used a cellphone in a Vasai restaurant to log in to his Facebook account and contacted the Virar police, which traced him to a restaurant in their jurisdiction.

He was detained the same day and, at the time this story was filed, his parents were on their way from UP to take their son back home.

“Siddharth’s father Harpit, who works in the Indian Army, wanted his son to join the Army too, but Siddharth dreamt of becoming a singer and working with film stars in Mumbai,” said a Virar police official.

“Siddharth, who looked up to Mohammad Rafi and Sonu Nigam, ran away from his home in Meerut, but noted the addresses of big studios in Mumbai before doing so. It took him three days to get to Bandra Terminus and he visited studios of Yash Raj, T-series and Balaji the same day, but nobody entertained him and told him that he had to be at least 18 to audition.

To bide time, Siddharth worked as a waiter in Bharat hotel at Grant Road, but left the job to take one at Samadhan hotel in Vasai West.

Avinash Kause, the owner of Samadhan told mid-day, “A few days back, I fired Siddharth because I was suspicious that he had run away from his home. He is a brilliant boy and was taking tuitions in Vasai in the day and teaching our kitchen staff late at night, apart from doing his duties. I also found CBSE books with him. I had no choice but to fire him as he refused to give me his parent’s address.”

“Siddharth used his colleague Rakesh Bagia’s phone a few days back to log into his Facebook account, which the Meerut police noticed and asked us to trace the number. Bagia told us that Siddharth had started working in another resturant in Virar and we traced him there,” an official said. Senior inspector Sunil Mane of Virar police station said, “On Thursday, we received a call from the Meerut police and we traced the boy to the restaurant.

Siddharth said he didn’t want to go home as his father has been forcing him to join the Army. We also found 1,600 songs written by him in his bag, and he said he wants to become a playback singer. We have already informed his parents and they are coming to take him back home.”

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