“Jaat Mein Yeh Baatate Hai.
Baat Ke Yeh Kaatate Hai, Kaatne Waale Khat Pe Hai.
Inki Mauj Raat Me Hai, Laal Batti Wali Gaddi, Glass Inke Hath Me Hai,
Rajneeti Me Hai Chor, Police Inke Sath Me Hai,
Meri Baate Tumhe Sach Nahi Lagti, Sachi Baate Tumko Yaara Pacch Nahi Sakti,
Mujhse Naa Samaj Hai Dugane Meri Age Ke,
Ek Pair Kabar Me Yeh Bhuke Hai Dahej Ke…”
This is an excerpt from Raftaar’s new song called Mantoiyat for Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s film Manto. If the film’s trailer gave you goosebumps, the song will leave you with the same impact. Raftaar’s composition talks about sexual harassment, slut-shaming, corruption, politics and freedom of expression. In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, the rapper-singer opened up about his latest track.
Q. Your composition for Manto is grabbing attention. Tell us something about it.
I was approached by Viacom Pictures again after Andhadhun to create a song for Manto. I like to leave messages in my songs even if it is a dancing number. I have done songs like Dhaakad, Allah Veh (Coke Studio), Stand Up etc which send out big messages. Even Andhadhun has a message in it and I guess that is what made them put their trust in me. Mantoiyat is one my most honest songs ever. I have given my heart and soul to it.
Q. What is the song about and what was your understanding of Manto?
The song is about the reality of society. Hypocrisy in its most true and denied form. The habit of living in bad conditions and accepting it as normal life. Having the right of freedom of speech without having the freedom to speak. 72 years since Manto Sahab passed away, the conditions remain the same. Speak the truth and be shunned by society. Mantoiyat is a no-holds-barred song.
Q. Was it a dream come true to work with Nawazuddin Siddiqui?
I am a big fan of Nawaz bhai. A fan of his struggles and determination. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to do this for. If I say I am a fan, I mean it. I don’t just watch movies and proclaim myself a fan of someone’s art.
Q. The film touches upon freedom of expression. As a rapper, you’ve been vocal about issues unlike many in the industry. What gives you the strength?
My conscience gives me the strength to speak up. Songs, social media or real life, I have always spoken what I feel is right. I chose my path. I have learned to balance between music for my goals and music for my soul.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Manto will release on September 21.