BENGALURU: From the time he can remember, Amandeep Singh, a city-based IT professional, has been expressing his thoughts and emotions through poetry. It’s no surprise then that Singh recently walked away with the title Sau Karod ka Kavi (Poet of India) for 2021 on India’s first poetry reality show Sau Karod Ka Kavi. A performance poet and storyteller, Singh, who hails from Patna, grew up writing poems since the age of nine. “I used to change the lyrics of Bollywood songs keeping the music intact. Besides, I used to extensively participate in poetry shows in school and college, which drove my interest towards literature,” says the 26-year-old, who is a familiar face on the Bengaluru stages, having won three Kommune (a collective of artistes) slams in Bengaluru during 2018 and 2019.
In November 2020, he stumbled upon a Facebook post calling for auditions for the reality show. “I submitted videos for the audition where I recited multiple poems. One of them was based on the Mahabharata character, Shakuni. The poem tells a story from the point of view of Shakuni as to the reason for starting a war against the Pandavas. Another one was a ghazal based on sadness and pain in modern days,” says Singh, adding that any sort of crisis around him, triggers him to write verses.
He explains that reciting poems also involve artistic and creative elements that add up to the overall performance. “We are assessed not just based on the poems but also body language and expressions. This reality show actually focuses on performing poetry,” says Singh. Some of his interesting performances on the show include Udassi, a poem on sadness, and Gulabi, a combination of six couplets that tell a story of how six different colours are related to pink. He has also performed a poem titled Tum Bade Kyun Nahi Hote, which is based on the Bengaluru lifestyle.
“This poem is based on how people from different states come to the city and live in PGs, hostels, watch films, and have fun. This reflects the life of an outsider in Bengaluru,” says Singh, whose finale performance included a series of couplets based on life and human tendencies. “One couplet is about how humans make assumptions that land them in difficult situations. Another couplet captures the heartwarming imagery of a poor man who spent his night on streets with no blanket to keep him warm, but only hope to keep him going,” says Singh.