Even as the Marathi folk song Sonu tula mazyawar bharosa naay ka (Sonu, don’t you trust me), and its many versions, go viral across the country, not many know who composed it. Twenty-six year old Ajay Kshirsagar, composer and singer of the original Sonu song, claims that while many people were inspired by his composition and made different versions, none gave him credit. In January this year, when Ajay uploaded his new composition, little did he know that the song would go viral on social media. Since the time it was uploaded on YouTube, the original version of the Sonu song has recorded over 6 million views.
Inspired by the song, many Mumbaikars — including the country’s ‘first’ transgender band, students of Mumbai university, and famously, RJ Malishka Mendonsa — created their own versions of it to highlight various issues.
Interestingly, after Mendonsa’s song about potholes and poor roads riled up the BMC, the ‘reply’ to it composed by some Shiv Sainiks was also based on the Sonu song.
When asked who the ‘Sonu’ in the song is, Ajay says it is his wife’s name for him. The woman singer in the original song is none other than Ajay’s wife, Bhagyashali Kshirsagar (24).
“Sonu in the song was inspired from my wife calling me Sonu. I am very happy that the song has become so popular among youngsters. College students invite me to their annual festivals in Solapur, Pune etc,” says Ajay.
The original video on YouTube, which also credits Chadan Kamble for the music, has poor production quality, and many of the parodies sound more sophisticated.
‘Sonu’ is one of the 12 songs composed and posted on YouTube by Ajay. He says while all his songs have been popular in rural Maharashtra, this is the first time that one went viral across the country.
“People have created their own versions, even in different languages, such as English, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Bhojpuri. Following Malishka, RJs from Delhi too made parodies inspired by my song. I feel great that the song has gained popularity outside Maharashtra,” Ajay says.
However, the composer says that people’s failure to give credit has meant that only the song, and not the artist, became popular. “Malishka must have used the song for a cause, I have no issues with that. But the radio channel could have mentioned my name at the end. Everybody today knows the song. But nobody knows who the composer or singer is,” says Ajay.
He adds, “If they give me credit, people will know about me. It may give me the chance to become a playback singer in Marathi and Hindi films.”
Originally from Kurudwadi village in Solapur district, Ajay records all his song at a sound studio in Pune owned by his father-in-law. Ajay has been writing and composing songs since he was 15, he says, and this isn’t the only time “something I composed has gone viral”. His song Mee Tujha Parsha, Tu Majhi Archi became a craze among youngsters in rural Maharashtra and has over 9 lakh views.
“We often make songs that appeal to college students and youngsters. Their tune and words are catchy and trendy.
We observe youngsters around us — this is what inspires Ajay to write and compose the songs,” says Bhagyashali.
Ajay is now working on his new composition Chingi la mhanali Sheela, Navra DJch hava mala (Sheela tells Chingi, she would only marry a DJ), which will be released soon.