Shiv Kumar Batalvi was a renowned poet-singer whose contribution to Punjabi literature has immortalised him. Among his many fans is RD Kailey, a retired bank manager who is also a trained singer. Kailey began his musical journey during the 1980s and since then, Shiv Kumar’s poetry has been an indispensable part of his life.
“Each year on his birth and death anniversary, we organise a musical performance, but this year I wanted to try something unique. So, on his 50th death anniversary, I decided to pay a 50-song tribute as a mark of respect and love for his poetry. I will be uploading one song every day for the next 50 days on my YouTube channel,” he says. He adds, “Even though all of Batalvi’s poetry is magnificent, most of us are only familiar with a few of his mainstream songs. This is an attempt to bring to light some of his lesser-known works.”
The tribute will also include poems from his most celebrated work Loona. About performing Batalvi’s poetry on stage, he says, “Whenever I step on stage, I feel immense pleasure. I feel like my life’s purpose has been achieved.”
Kailey has been composing music for Batalvi’s poetry himself. He believes that composing for films is different from that for stage. One needs to justify the melody and keep the audience engaged. About one of his earliest compositions he recounts, “I developed and recorded my composition for the poem Mainu Vida Karo in a single day. It all happened very organically, as if it was meant to be. I received an overwhelming response from the audience when I uploaded the song on YouTube.”
As his first tribute, he has uploaded the song Asaan Taan Joban Rutte Marna on his YouTube channel.
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