Mumbai calling

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Lured by an advertisement for singing audition in 2007, Shabir Malik landed in Mumbai and began a journey in bollywood.  Hamidullah Dar reports.

In his school days, Shabir Malik might not have thought that writing poetic pieces would one day take him to the place called Film Nagri (Mumbai). But in 2007 the occasion came and he found himself in the streets of Mumbai; not for touring the place but visiting the offices related to film industry.
Shabir, a tall lanky handsome young man of 24, is no less a poetic genius. Hailing from Nagam, a far flung village of the Kulgam district in south Kashmir, Shabir did his schooling from the nearby high school. However he could not continue studies there and, did his matric through IGNOU.
“I was interested in writing songs for films right from my school days. During primary school I used to scribble songs on my notebooks for most of the time which affected my studies. However, by the time I was in 8th standard, I had a compilation of many songs and Ghazals,” says Shabir while combing his long hair with his fingers.
After completing his matric, Shabir devoted his entire time to song writing. “My family members were under the impression that I was preparing for any examination as I would not leave my room for days. And whenever I would go to our orchard, I would take my notebook along lest any couplet may go unwritten,” a confident looking Shabir says.
“One day in 2006, I saw that E Tv (an entertainment channel) was conducting an audition for singers in Mumbai. I told my father that I will participate in the competition. He scolded me but yielded when I showed him my anthology of songs and Ghazals. I reached Mumbai in 2007 for the audition which was a good experience,” says Shabir.     
Although Shabir took part in the singing audition, he began to seek appointments with music directors, singers and other artists. “I was lucky enough to meet Bappy Lahiri in the first week of my arrival in Mumbai. He went through my songs and was impressed by them. He encouraged me to stay put in Mumbai even if it means remaining hungry for days. I asked him whether there was any chance of me getting any work in the film industry, he said, ‘there is a great deal for you’” Shabir recalled. Bappi Lahiri also advised him to tone up his body and learn dancing.
Next Shabir went to Vishal & Shekhar’s studio in Andheri (East) to meet the music directors. “Vishal was helpful. He told me that he will use my songs whenever an occasion arises and recently he has invited me to write two songs for a film he is composing music for,” says Shabir.
Acting on the tips of Bappi Lahiri, Shabir after coming from Mumbai attended a dancing course at Jammu for three months.
On his return to Mumbai, Shabir came to know that his songs will not get his name unless he gets registration for song writing with Film Writers Association. “I filled the registration form but had no published work to my credit, a necessary condition. I called up my father who arranged publication of some of my ghazals in Daily Aftab which I later annexed with the form. However it took me two years to get registered with the association due to delay in verification,” says Shabir.  In the end 12 among the numerous song writers got registered and Shabir was at the top of list, the only Kashmiri song writer to do so according to him.
“For the song writing test of the association, I was given a situation with a three days time to write the song. However, I went to Association’s office next morning and handed the song over to its president,” informs Shabir. After getting registered, Shabir has written three of the seven songs for an album by Kunal Music Company Mumbai and the album is to be released within next two months. He is writing two songs each for three films Chitrachor, Taranum and another one that has no title as yet. At a young age Shabir has every ingredient to become a famous song writer.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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