Baba Sehgal, Hindi Rapper, Playback Singer, Actor and Music Director

Baba Sehgal, Hindi Rapper, Playback Singer, Actor and Music Director

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

“We normally jo bhi ek tweet ka ek post ka hum 2 lakh rupaye charge karte hain (We normally … for a tweet or post I charge Rs. 2 lakh).”

Before becoming a household name as India’s first Hindi rapper with hit show on Doordarshan Superhit Muqabala, in the early 1990s, Baba Sehgal had cut hit albums like Thanda Thanda Paani. Who can forget his rendering of the hit song “Rukmani, Rukmani” from Mani Ratnam’s equally hit movie Roza. An engineer by training, Baba Sehgal, born Harjeet Singh Sehgal, graduated to become an actor, a playback singer and a music director. Off the Bollywood scene for the past one decade or so, as he had taken up playback singing and acting in South Indian movies, Sehgal made a sort of comeback in 2015. Although a late starter on social media, he has more than 2 lakh followers on Twitter, more than 2.70 lakh on Facebook and more than 2 lakh on Instagram.

When Cobrapost team sought an appointment for a one-to-one meeting, Sehgal refused to meet saying he was too busy. But he nonetheless talked business over phone.

Introducing himself, the Cobrapost reporter tells Sehgal his PR agency has been tasked with digital promotion of the BJP.  We are roping in celebrities like you who would post positive messages about the party on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. In a way we will be hiring you. But it has to be done in such a way as would lead people to believe that you are supporting the BJP and its ideology on your own. Responding with a “Haan, haan (Yes, yes)” here and there as the reporter briefs him on the agenda, Sehgal says to reveal, “Haan samajh gaya main. Samajh gaya main. Karte hain hum log bahut baari kiya hai (Yes, I got it. I got it. We people do such promotion. I have done it many times).”

So, what we are talking to him is not something new. He goes on to ask, “But how many tweets, how many because kitna tweets kitna aapko (How many Tweets you [want me to do])?” We can meet in person today evening to discuss the details, we say. He refuses to oblige but says we could talk business over phone. “Nahi bhaiya main aise milta nahi hoon. Sab phone pe hee ho jaata hai. Main travel kar raha hoon (No brother, I don’t like to meet when we can discuss everything on phone. I am travelling),” says Sehgal.

As our telephonic negotiation moves on, we tell him he would have to make four-five tweets a month, for instance. Understanding very well that he has to post messages on all three social media platforms, Sehgal says, “Haan, matlab tweet bhi karne hain saath mein Facebook par bhi daalne hain aur Instagram mein bhi daalna hai (Yes, you mean I have to tweet along with writing posts on Facebook and Instagram).” Yes, we say.

What is your expectation in terms of remuneration for the job? “We normally jo bhi ek tweet ka ek post ka hum 2 lakh rupaye charge karte hain … ek ka maan lo agar 15 huye toh 30 ho gaya plus GST (We normally … for a tweet or post I charge Rs. 2 lakh … suppose if there are 15 messages, it comes to [Rs] 30 [lakh] plus GST),” he is quick on calculation. We promptly agree to pay him his fee, Rs. 30 lakh a month.

When we insist for a personal meeting so that we are sure we were talking to the right person, Sehgal assures in these words, “Wo problem nahi hai milne ki aisa aajkal sab phone pe aap sahi aadmi se hee baat kar rahe hain don’t worry … sahi aadmi se baat kar rahe ho (There is no problem in meeting. But we can talk over phone. Don’t worry you are talking to the right person … you are talking to the right person).”

We would provide you the content for these messages, we tell him. But you will need to write them in your own words, in a creative way. You have to speak good about the work done by the BJP government, for example, Swach Bharat Abhiyan. Agreeing, Sehgal says, “Usmein kuch change apne tareeke se karne kee zaroorat hai usmein jo style humara chalta hai … wo kya krenge na jab bhi hum post karnege na jab bhi mere ko change karna hoga main aapko message kar doonga confirmation ke liye ki maine ye rhyme kiya because mere rhyming bahut chalta hai (I will need to make change in my own way … I have style of doing that … what I will do is whenever I would post something I will send you a message whenever I have to change the content telling you that I have written this rhyme for your confirmation because my rhyming is very popular).”

After some weeks, our reporter calls Sehgal again to remind him what we had discussed with him. His fee having being settled, we come to discuss the mode of payment. How much cash you can accept, we ask Sehgal. “Main le sakta hoon aapka kya hai mere ko 50 percent … aapne bola 30–40 jitna bhi aap kar sakte ho … aapko kitna white karna hai aapko (I can accept cash. Tell me what you want. I can 50 percent … 30–40 whatever you said … how much you want to pay in white),” he seeks to know. We can pay maximum 20 per cent in white, we tell him. “Arre baap re, accha toh cash ka kaise fir (Oh my god. Okay, how this much cash then)?” he asks. Then he finally says, “Nahi nahi, anyway… theek hai toh aap dekho kaise and how do you want to start kaise karna hai (It is fine. So, you see to it how [can do this] and tell me how do you want to start. How it has to be done)?” With this broader understanding thus arrived, our telephonic interaction with Sehgal ends.

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 here to read the answers.

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