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How Himesh Reshammiya continues to survive 

Actor, singer, lyricist, producer, compose, Himesh Reshammiya is a man of many talents. But one of his most underrated talents is the ability to survive the most disruptive critics. 

Shriram Iyengar

The experience of a Himesh Reshammiya song is quite simple. In the beginning, the listener turns to it out of curiousity. Then, the unique and strange tone and the beats prove addictive. This goes on till the words, and their pitch, have seeped into your brain and you are hooked. Once you've crossed this stage, there is no going back. Himesh Reshammiya was the first social media star in India. A decade ago, when Orkut was the place to be for a social media enthusiast, He enjoyed a fan following that was staggering and mystifying in equal measures. There were groups of 'Himesh lovers' fighting verbal battles with groups titled 'I hate Himesh Reshammiya' every day. This was a time when 'troll' had not entered the Webster dictionary, and Bollywood was still confused about what to do with this unique Gujarati phenomenon.


Starting out as a producer for small time television serials like Andaz and Amar Prem, Himesh progressed to being a composer. In fact, he had tried signing Salman Khan for his first film. When the project got canned, Salman promised him a chance as a music director. It came in 1998 in the film 'Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya'. Since then, the Salman-Himesh combo has notched up hits like 'Tere Naam', 'Ready', 'Kick' and the recent 'Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo'. Himesh is pretty clear on those lines. In several interviews, he has accepted the role of his 'mentor' Salman. When he won his first Filmfare Award for Best Composer for Aashiq Banaya Aapne(2005), Salman was only behind his father and God in the thanksgiving. Although Himesh had served up some spectacular stuff in films like Tere Naam(2003), and Aitraaz(2005), it was the Emraan Hashmi starrer which brought him the attention. The title track spread through radio stations and amateur deejays like wildfire. With the distinct nasal twang, quasi-Sufi lyrics and the Middle Eastern beats, it was classic Himesh. It was everything that his critics hated, it was everything his fans loved.



As a result, Himesh shares the position that is often reserved for singers like Altaf Raja, Pankaj Udhas or, once before, Biddu. Artists, who flourishedduring a certain unseasonal phenomenon of cultural change, before fading away from the limelight. The only difference? Himesh Reshammiya survives. With every passing year, Himesh has added to his repertoire of skills. From a singer, he turned to lyric writing and composing. Since then, he has added acting and producing to his list. Since his surprisingly hit box-office debut with Aap Ka Surroor(2007), Himesh has starred in 10 films over the decade. This is a surprisingly good return. With Tera Surroor(2016), the actor/singer now seeks to acquire the star quotient with his six-pack physique. It is a part of the makeover that began with his infamous 'wig' debacle in Kajraare(2010).

So what makes this wonder of Himesh Reshammiya tick? For one, Himesh Reshammiya is an underdog. He does not have the looks, the talent or the name that makes for a Bollywood hero. Yet, here he is standing alongside Kabir Bedi, Shekhar Kapur and Naseeruddin Shah. His songs are not meant to entice the audience that is used to AR Rahman. This is a more eclectic crowd that listens to Altaf Raja and Bappi Lahiri in their spare times. His songs are peppered with beats to make monotonous work and hectic traffic bearable. His lyrics talk about the good life, success and delirious happiness. All things that appeal to the man on the street looking for something to forget the monotonous delirium of his daily life.

Kids of the 80s would remember the song 'Hawa hawa' by Hasan Rizvi creating a frenzy on the radio. Then, critics and music aficionados alike could not figure out why the song was popular. It was just that after a few hearings, it would become addictive. Himesh Reshammiya is the earworm who just refuses to go away. Neither critics nor fans can do anything about it.