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4-min read

Raghu Dixit On His Journey So Far: I Can Write a Movie Story Now

In a quick interaction with News18.com, Raghu Dixit talks about Chef, his high-spirited songs and the funny connection between the band and 'lungi'.

Kriti Tulsiani | News18.com@sleepingpsyche2

Updated:October 8, 2017, 5:52 PM IST

Right at the beginning, during the first song Jag Changa, Raghu Dixit instructs the audience members to keep their phones away. "Everybody who has phones in their hands, I also have iPhone 8 now. Keep it inside, keep it inside. Phone andar rakho."

"Jo cheez andar rehni chahiye, wo andar hi rehni chahiye," he quips and then progresses to complete his song at the ASEAN-India Music Festival 2017 organised by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with Seher.

Not many bands can keep their listeners amused with their spontaneous witty remarks the same way they can enthrall them with their compositions. But The Raghu Dixit Project is an exception.

raghu-dixit-project-1Image: ASEAN-India Music Festival Team, Shubham Gupta Photography

Dixit makes it a point to let his audience realise the importance of living in the moment, and more so, the value of being alive. "It's okay if you screw up the words because nobody knows this song. But what's important is, that you sing, because of the beautiful fact that we all are alive and can breathe. So take that air and throw it out in the form of a song. Let your bodies vibrate and feel the joy that only singing can give," he says while teaching his popular song Lokada Kalaji to the many youngsters hooting and cheering their hearts out in the crowd.

Many of you might know The Raghu Dixit Project as probably the only band who's revolutionised the traditional lungi to be a fashion staple in its members' wardrobes. And the look feels absolutely in sync with their compositions as both its attires and songs are vibrant, infectious and unabashedly high spirited.

"I'm a happy person. I would like to make everybody else happy, so that's how we're doing," says an enthusiastic Dixit while speaking to News18.com.

His mother tongue might be Tamil, but the language that he speaks and writes in, is Kannada. To this, he explains, "I grew up all my life in Karnataka, so that's the natural language I speak. Only when my mother scolds, I reply back in Tamil."

In fact, quite a lot of his listeners don't necessarily understand either of the above-mentioned languages, but still, manage to groove to his tunes and make them their own.

When asked how the unusual choice of attire came into being, Dixit quips that it's for ventilation. "I could fix fans and all but that was too complicated," he says.

Before the recently released Chef, starring Saif Ali Khan in lead, Dixit has worked in Hindi films like Quick Gun Murugan, Bewakoofiyaan, Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge and Amit Sahni Ki List apart from seveal regional films.

With his pleasing presentation and the magic he creates on stage, it's only thought provoking that we've seen quite less of him in Bollywood per se. "I've only worked in films for which friends have called me. Chef is the only film that I got because of my merit, I think. Everything else has been just friends saying come and work for my movie."

He further explains how he bagged Chef and shares, "Raja Menon happened to hear my music by accident. Somebody played it in front of him and he said, Hey, this is the kind of music I want for my film and that's how I got Chef."

"The humungous reach that Bollywood music has, always felt underprivileged in front of it," he quips explaining the first thing that comes to his mind when we talk about Bollywood music.

With a plethora of Bollywood compositions resorting to a mix of EDM now, Dixit feels that it doesn't matter as anything that works is fine now. "As long as people are loving it, movies are making money, anything goes."

During an IIT concert in 2015, Dixit shared his journey and cited, "I was discovered, literally, by Vishal and Shekhar when I was performing a solo concert in a dark dingy bar. And in the crowd were these amazing human beings and musicians, Vishal and Shekhar, who thought it was worth putting their money behind us and release our album. That's how our first album came out in 2006. So what the record labels thought will never sell went on to become the highest selling non-film music album, selling over 75,000 and we sold our albums hand-to-hand literally in our concerts."

Today, when he looks back on his journey from being a microbiologist to becoming one of the most sought-after names in both independent circuit and global platforms, Dixit smiles and says, "I can write a movie story now."

The ongoing music festival sees the presence of bands from Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Philippines besides India.

"This is our nth time of performing for ASEAN-India festival along with other bands from the entire South East Asia. Every time, we're exposed to some new bands that we've never heard before. And we look forward to the cross-cultural exchanges that keep happening now."

While the likes of Papon and Raghu Dixit have already brought the house down on first two nights, the finale night will have Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in attendance.

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| Edited by: Kriti Tulsiani
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