Book Title: Made In India BIDDU (Adventures of a Lifetime)
Publisher: Read Out Loud
My Rating: *****
About the Author: An Indian by birth, BIDDU is a globally renowned Pop singer who shot to fame with the stupendous success of 'KungFu Fighting'. Which was followed by the cult classic 'Aap Jaisa Koi' for the Hindi film 'Qurbani'. And the rest is history!
"Have you heard of BIDDU?" someone asked, and my reaction was, "What kind of question is THAT?" I was genuinely bewildered because born in the 80's I grew up listening, crooning and dancing like crazy to Biddu's Pop hits. I am a genuine fan and I cannot imagine any music lover of my age, not remembering BIDDU! So when I came across his autobiography, my interest was immediately peaked.
For a man of such immense talent and an artiste who's sold over thirty-eight million records worldwide, his autobiography shows how humble he still is at the core. Probably what keeps him grounded is the years of struggle and hardships that went into the strife to reach his dreams.
Biddu was born in India, and brought up in Bangalore. Having lost his father early in life he ventured out into the world on his own, almost penniless and built it all up from scratch. Though his initial years may have been really tough, the tone of voice that Biddu maintains while narrating episodes from his childhood and teenage, leaves the reader in splits. There is a tongue-in- cheek humor in the way he chooses his words and uses phrases with great comic timing.
It was absolutely amazing to get a peek into the early years of Biddu's life and I felt mighty privileged actually to have been given this book to read. Biddu started his career playing in a motley group of four boys who formed a pop band which he'd named 'The Trojans'- whose influences lay in the classic repertoire of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their escapades in Calcutta surely make for an interesting read. Biddu narrates how he eventually landed in Bombay, and started doing two shows a day, five days a week at a hotel and also used to perform at concerts on weekends.
Shakespeare said, 'Enough, no more, 'tis not so sweet as it was before'
To this Biddu adds his own two cents, 'Tis best to go while you'l be missed, don;t hang around lest they get miffed.'
What a lesson, I say! Words of the wise, indeed.
So Biddu set his heart on his original dream and set off on a journey. Though not a smooth journey, how he sailed his way quite literally,to London through Basra, meeting the bad 'Band-aids' on the way is an amusing episode too. Once on 'solid British soil' as he put it, Biddu did everything for survival; from selling carbon paper to random companies, going from door to door peddling paintings ,and working as a chef in a hamburger restaurant called Yankee Doodle.
Being a die-hard romantic myself, I was happy to read how he met and married his British lady love. I also loved that Biddu throws in some interesting trivia like how he named his music production company 'Subiddu' and how Frank Sinatra paraphrased the name in the reprise of one of his famous numbers by belting out 'doo be doo biddu'.
All through out I was eagerly waiting to read how he struck gold with the "Kung fu Fighting?" track. It is an absolute treat to read about how the song was recorded in those days,signing Carl Douglas, adding the 'oh ho ho ho', and the chopping 'huh' and 'hah' vocals. This is one of his earliest tracks that brought him recognition by emerging as a hit all over the world. Biddu went on to write and produce hits for Tina Charles and soul legend Jimmy James.
So all in all, Biddu's life story is full of interesting tales of how he scaled musical heights. The journey is as fantastic a roller-coaster ride as I'd imagined it would be.
While everybody know Biddu for his Indian Pop music album 'Made In India' I personally think , his cult classics "Aap Jaisa Koi" and "Laila O Laila" for the film Qurbani are superlative.
In quick succession came the pop album, 'Disco Deewane', with Nazia Hassan, which became an instant hit, emerging as the largest selling pop album in Asian history,and was the first Indian album to hit the charts in fourteen countries. This album came out in April 1981 and I was born in December 1981. Assuming my music-lover mother had enjoyed listening to the music tracks from the album while she carried me, I think I have an explanation why my heart went 'Boom Boom' every time the tracks from this particular music album played; so much that I used to play the cassette on loop, on my walk-man when I was older.
April seems to be a lucky month for Biddu for it was again in the April of 1995 that Made in India, sung by the singer Alisha Chinai in her velvety voice, was released. It hit the charts and almost immediately became the three-million-selling album. I was in my teens at that time, and I remember my mother used to scour a lot of film magazines,reading all about it. I remember sharing the trivia with my friends and enjoying dancing to the music together, with a glint in our eyes. Such were those days, simple and sweet! So you can imagine how thrilled I must have been reading all about the inside story in detail, that raked up poignant nostalgia.
I think, even the cover of the autobiography has been aptly designed by Rishad Patel, featuring Biddu in his quintessential rock-star avatar, and his long tresses blowing in the wind.
So glad this one's MADE IN INDIA!