Dosti, a rap poetrysong by budding singer-songwriter Abhay Awasthi, 28, on friendships, big dreams, and struggles of the youth, has crossed over three lakh views in five days since its release. This is Awasthi’s second single after Gratitude, about a make-up artiste smitten by the beauty of a girl.
Dosti, he says, are his reflections from different friendships he has forged throughout life. “At the same time, it also talks about dreams, philosophies, unemployment and laziness. Aapke sapne toh itne bade hai par aapki reality itni choti hai (Your dreams are big, but reality is so small).”
Hailing from a family of farmers in Farukkhabad in UP, Awasthi, had shifted to Delhi in 2012 after finishing Class 12, to look for a job to support his family. He was hired as a computer operator but did all kinds of jobs for Rs 4,000 a month.
“The only highlight of that job was letting me leave work by 6:00pm. exactly the time my theatre plays and rehearsals used to begin. I didn’t have any financial support, which is why I made this compromise,” he adds. Awasthi only took up theatre “because all my favourite actors started their career doing theatre. I got to know about Drashta India (Delhi-based theatre group) from Facebook, I spoke to Rajesh Bali sir (founder) and joined the group the very same day. Bali sir became my guru, and there was no looking back. While doing theatre, I started writing, but everything remained limited to my diary.”
However, he has also seen “empty-pocket days” when he left his job to pursue theatre. “I used to travel without a bus ticket for my rehearsal in Daryaganj, and would get caught by the ticket collector. Sometimes, I used to walk from Kashmere Gate,” he adds. Eventually, he attended open mics, and also made a show called, Love In The Air, that his group performed at PVRs. “I learnt rap while continuously reciting my poetry. Aditya Rohilla – who composed both my songs – and I started a form called rap poetry,” he adds.
But the journey of releasing these rap poetry songs was not easy. “People appreciated the songs, but were not ready to release them. Then we met Ramit Bhatt and Naveen Soni of Unfiltered by Koinage Records, who agreed to release our work. They will release our next single, a classical hop song on breakups, next month,” adds Awasthi, who lives with his family in Kanhaiya Nagar. Life has changed a lot in these nine years, and recently he even starred in Ashish Kaushik’s film Let’s Stay that was screened at Cannes in July. For now, Awasthi is taking each day as it comes, given the Covid restrictions and lack of opportunities to perform for a live audience.
“When the theatres reopen, the rehearsals will begin. Meanwhile, I am reading for an upcoming movie. And I am making one more track on childhood days.”