Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Bollywood Playback Singer

Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Bollywood Playback Singer

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

“Facebook pe acchi-acchi cheejein karoonga, gaali nahi doonga thoda musical gaa ke you know guitar leke wo sab bahut viral hoga Modiji kee tareef mein ek gaana ki ‘Ye hee hai aur kaun hai’ (I will write good posts on Facebook. I will not abuse anybody. I will play a musical, holding a guitar, you know, and sing a paean in praise of Modiji like ‘Ye hee hai aur kaun hai’).”

One of the most controversial celebrities, Abhijeet Bhattacharya has sung hundreds of songs in many languages other than Hindi, including Bengali, Odia, Bhojpuri, Marathi and Gujarati. But the Kanpur-born playback singer loves wooing controversies as much as he does singing. Only recently, the singer has been accused by an air hostess of molesting her in a Kolkata hotel dance floor some 20 years ago. He is known for spewing venom on social media against Pakistan and noted personalities who he thinks are not as much patriotic. In September 2016, Bhattacharya created a flutter when he lashed out at Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhat for “breeding” and “feeding” Pakistani artistes and called for them to be kicked out, using filthy language against the artistes from across the borders. Only two months earlier in July that year he was arrested by the Mumbai Police for calling a woman journalist names on Twitter. The singer again kicked a storm in April last year when he called a decorated senior army officer a Pak supporter after the officer criticized Major Gogoi using an alleged stone pelter as human shield tying him to the bonnet of his jeep. Two months later, his account was suspended after he abused student leader Shehla Rashid and other women Twitter users. His attempt to use Twitter again since then has failed.

The singer has around 21.27 lakh followers on Facebook, though, and his Instagram account shows about 30000 followers. When Cobrapost team met the singer at his residence and apprised him of their objective, the Yash Bharti awardee admitted to have no account on Twitter while bragging there are 20 Twitter accounts running in his name.

As we tell him all what he has to do is praise all the good works or schemes the BJP government in the past four years or so has done or launched, for instance, Ujjwala Yojna and the famed surgical strike on Pakistan. Demonstrating one-upmanship, Bhattacharya says, “Wo mera video lijiye aap statement live … ye poster toh sab chhapte hain banaake photo leke, lekin paanch-paanch minute teen-teen chaar minute ke khoon khaulane wala video lijiye (You can take a video of my live statement … they print posters with a photograph on them. But take from me three, four, five minute long videos which will boil your blood with anger).” Why not send us some of your ideas, we tell him. “Nahi, jo mudda chalega na uss time inke against uss mudde ko hum log pakdenge (No, we would take up an issue that is raised against them at a given point of time),” he suggests.

Giving him the “Surgical Strike” as an example, we ask him to write on such issues on a given day. But for him surgical strike is passé. There are more pressing issues such as the triple talaq. He says, “Abhi jaise ye teen talaq wala hai na teen talaq wala toh usko positive karna hai ki Muslim mard toh mard hee hote hain unka kaam hee hai Muslim mard kee tareh in auraton ko … auraton ko izzat dijiye wo aapki maa hai wo aapki bahen hai wo aapki beti hai theek hai wo aapki saas hai toh Modiji ne auraton par zyada dhyan diya hai (Right now there is this issue of triple talaq. I will write positive things about it saying that Muslim men are typical men who … give these women respect. They are after all your mother, your sister, your daughter or even your mother-in-law. Modiji is paying attention to their good).” He even suggests to link the talaq issue to the Beti Bachao Beti Parhao campaign. “Toh Beti Bachao Beti Parhao maybe teen talaq mein se hee aata hai beti kisi na kisi kee toh beti hai toh iss tareh jahan par jo garam mudda hai na usko open kijiye log chunenge baaki toh wo fir aisa lagega ki chal raha hai (Maybe Beti Bachao Beti Parhao arises out of this triple talaq. A woman is a daughter of someone. Take up such a hot issue to open debate. People would jump at it. Otherwise, it will look something like routine).”

We tell the singer to send us such ideas. We would discuss the idea and take approval. After that he could make a video. He would be duly paid for it. Nah, he says. He would use his mobile phone to make videos in situations which look natural. He says, “Hoon, natural lage na kahin khade traffic mein gaadi ke andar baith ke bol diya chaay pee rahe hain coffee shop pe bol diyaa toh wo … haan natural (It should look natural. Suppose, I am at a traffic signal and I say something while sitting in my car or sipping tea at a coffee shop … yes [that would look] natural).” We tell him at this point that we would provide him the required content, so that if his tweets or posts raise any heat and dust, he would have all the facts and figures before him to counter that. But he is not the man to be cowered down by storms, as he says boastfully, “Nahi nahi main toh boloonga haan humne kiya hai kuchh nahi hum usmein padte nahi kyon bolein haan maine aisa bola hai aapne aurat ke baare mein aisa bola hai (No, no. I will say yes I have done this. Why should I get into it? Yes I said this about women).”

As our discussion moves on, the ultranationalist in the singer takes over. What he tells us next gives us a peek into his mind. “Ye jo [Swati] Chaturvedi hai kya Financial Bainjal karke aur rashtriyata ye kya Shehla Rashid inko toh matlab TV pe bola kaash apka thoda sa sex aapka different hota na abhi tak aake main aapko peet diya hota aap toh antinational ho, aap aurat nahi ho, aap aurat mard kee shreni mein aate hee nahi ho, aap logon kee ek jaat hai antinational dushman toh aapka toh koi jaati hee nahi toh aapko kaise main aurat samajh loon aap aurat hain hee nahi (There is this [Swati] Chaturvedi from this Financial Bainjal … and what nationalism this Shehla Rashid is talking about. I told her in a TV debate that had you have different sex I would have had beaten you up. You are an anti-national. You are neither a woman nor a man, your only creed is anti-national; you are an enemy. When you have no creed then how could I treat you as a woman),” he spews. Sensing that the man is capable of doing anything in the name of nationalism, we give him another offer. Why not corner opposition parties in your own way, we say, even using epithets. We will pay you extra. He is as much prompt to reply, “Haan, haan beep baja ke … haan bilkul karoonga aur koi hai hee nahi karne wala main hee karoonga (Yes, yes, by using a beep … yes, I will sure do it. There is nobody else who would do it. I will sure do it).” Continuing his tirade, he adds, “Wo log karenge jinke paas kuch nahi hai humare paas sab kuch hai fir bhi inko maine khaderna hai matlab inko khaderna hai (You think those people who have nothing would do this? I have everything. I want to throw them out).”

You can target the Congress Party, and then there is the TMC which you can corner on the issue of NRC. You can tweet on the issue or even write posts on Facebook, we egg him on. “Usmein naam kyon loon (Why should I name them),” he asks a logical question. No, you have to play it indirectly, we tell him. “Done karta hoon (Then it is a done deal),” he announces. He then makes it clear why he would not talk against TMC and West Bengal, “Nahi nahi, wo nahi kar sakta sirf Bengal aur TMC chhod ke sab karoonga … humara rozi-roti maximum wahan se hai (No, no. I can’t do that. I will do everything except Bengal and TMC … I earn my bread and butter maximum from there only).” The singer even tells us how he would work. “Facebook pe acchi-acchi cheejein karoonga, gaali nahi doonga thoda musical gaa ke you know guitar leke wo sab bahut viral hoga Modiji kee tareef mein ek gaana ki ‘Ye hee hai aur kaun hai’ toh Facebook pe is tareh ka wo sab kaam kar sakta hoon, Instagram pe kar sakta hoon … Twitter pe gaali doonga (I will write good posts on Facebook. I will not abuse anybody. I will play a musical, holding a guitar, you know, and sing a paean in praise of Modiji like ‘Ye hee hai aur kaun hai’. It will go viral. I can do this kind of job on Facebook and Instagram … I will abuse on Twitter),” he says.

But there are two specifics, we explain. One, you have to appreciate the good work done by the government. Two, you will have to defend the government on certain issues. You have to do it in an indirect way. Telling us that he does not like going to TV debates these days, he promises to create such content as would force people debate it. Listen to what the singer says, “Maine debate chhod diya debate mein jaana kyonki debate mein mere saamne koi aisa koi waisa figure rahe toh main debate karoon ye tucche-mucche pachees partiyan aa gai hain pachees partiyon ka ek-ek aadmi banta hua hai toh main kiske saath baat karoon debate mein main kabhi nahi jaata main aisa create karoonga log uspe debate karenge (I have left going to [TV] debates. When there are petty figures before me, how can I debate with them? There are about 25 petty parties and each has its spokesperson. Whom should I talk to? So, I don’t join debates at all. But I would create such content as would draw people to debate).”

His hatred towards Muslims comes out when he talks of Rohingyas. Referring to a BJP legislator who made a highly controversial statement on Rohingyas, the singer says, “Ye isne bahut accha kiya tha Raja Singh bhi mere paas aate hain Hyderabad se BJP ke MLA Raja Singh bilkul wahan ke Yogi hain. Usne bola tha na Rohingya ko itna kyon de rahe ho seedha goli maar do. Baahar jaate hain toh theek hai warna goli maar do. Toh wo attitude hona chahiye … nahi main boloonga Rohingya ko goli maar do jo support karte hain unko goli maar do pehle unko maaro baad mein unko maaro (This fellow did the right thing. Raja Singh, the BJP MLA from Hyderabad, visits me. He is Yogi [Adityanath] of Hyderabad. He had said why give Rohingyas any shelter, why not shoot them. This should be the attitude … No, I will say shoot the Rohingyas and shoot those who support them. First kill their supporters and then them).” Yes, we would need these kinds of statements from you, we tell him, and when elections come, such issues would become topics of intense debate. Suppose black money and GST may become an issue. “Nahi GST ko main ek accha gana bana doonga na ek accha gana bana doonga (No, I will compose a good song on GST),” promises Bhattacharya.

The singer thus on board, we tell him this will be a nine-month contract, which would start from September, and ask him for his fee. “Theek hai Nitin baat karega aapse (Fine, Nitin will discuss it with you),” he tells us. His manager Nitin was present there throughout the proceedings. Before we wrap up our interview with the singer, we advise caution saying that ours is a hidden agenda. So the party we represent should not be named in his tweets or posts and then there should be no negative comments on the party. Agreeing, he says it comes natural to him. “Mera toh natural hai bhai main toh aisa hee karta rehta hoon (This is natural to me. I keep doing like this only),” he says. He then also seeks help in case there is trouble on account of this activity, saying, “Haan lekin kuch wo hoga toh party ke log saath mein khade hain na (Yes, but if something happens I hope the party leadership would back me).” We assure him on that count.

As the singer left it for his manager to discuss his fee with us, it is now Nitin who takes over the negotiations. When we ask him what the singer would charge to promote our party on social media platforms, the manager has this to say, “Dekho aisa hai Dada se maine ek idea liya hai unka kehna ye hai ki 10 per post hona chahiye aur minimum 60 per month hona chahiye. Matlab six post maan ke chaliye. Uske oopar hua toh uske baad koi problem nahi but minimum 60 hona chahiye (You see I have taken an idea from Dada [the singer]. He says that the fee should be Rs. 10 lakh per post and it should be minimum Rs. 60 lakh a month. I mean there would be at least six posts and if they go beyond that number there is no problem as such, but it should be Rs. 60 lakh minimum).” We freeze the deal at Rs. 60 lakh a month. We tell him that of this fee, the singer would get Rs. 6 lakh in white. The rest will be paid in cash in advance every month. “Okay,” returns the manager.

We had e-mailed a questionnaire to all these celebs to know what they would like to say on what we have revealed in our story. Click below to read the answers. Reply of Bollywood Celebrities.

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