Devang Patel – A voice lost in the crowd…

Every actor owes it to too many people in the business for the name and fame he earns. Be it his producers, directors, co-stars or singers, the credit for the stardom goes to these people as much as the audience. However, as soon as the actor starts fading out or the hype around the actor recedes, his fellow companions who share the limelight with him too face a setback.

 
Raj Kapoor, the showman in the industry paved his path and amongst the many he was close to, RK calls singer Mukesh his aural avatar. Similar can be said for Shammi Kapoor for whom Mohammed Rafi’s voice became an identity, while for Rajesh Khanna it was the yoddler Kishore Kumar. There came a time in the life of a boy from Virar (in suburban Mumbai), when he started showering in the ample stardom, his effervescent personality became known for the vibrant voice of a Gujju chhokra. The ever-flamboyant Govinda became Devang Patel’s ticket to stardom and back.
 
 
 
Unlike many singers of his time, Devang had a unusual pull in his voice and his style of singing, so much so, that he became the music sensation of the ’90s. The ’90s which was flooded with foot-tapping solo albums of various artists, found its early rapper in the songs of this Gujarati boy. If G-U-J-J-U from Kal Ho Na Ho was a funny track then the generation had definitely missed out on the super-funny numbers by Patel. Patel would rip-off the western hits and the audience would laugh, clap and sing-along. His songs had annoying yet catchy lyrics. As a kid who grew up in the ’90s has memories of Patel’s songs, be it Aish Tu Kar or Chaloo girl.

 
Patel was witty and quirky with the lyrics as well as his compositions. And he did well in the film industry too when he found a face for his voice, which belonged to the then vivacious star Govinda. Possibly, Govinda picked him up to do the peppy numbers owing to Patel’s ishtyle. Patel soon became Govinda’s aural avatar. Although, not many but no can forget the hits the duo gave – “Meri Marzi”, “Stop that”. Patel even with his solos had become a rage. His unusual demeanor and a funny face did the magic, add to it the rhyme and rhythm. The lyrics of his songs very subtly hint at the social chaos and issues.

Kuch bhi ho khane mein na chhodna kasar
Sau pakode khajana bina soche koi asar
Roz sattar cigarette pi bina kiye fikar
Roz raat ko soja daru do bottle pikar
Chaubees ghante tambaku chabaya kar
Tabiyat jaaye tel lene aish tu kar
 
 
Not many could do it the way Patel did with aplomb, the only comedy-rap singer that India has known!
 
 
This time was also the time for other rappers like the very popular, Baba Sehgal, nonetheless, Patel dwelled and reveled in stardom long enough before being crushed by the lobbies and the big shots in the industry. Govinda, now, is producing his albums, will be singing and penning the lyrics too but the voice behind his many off-beat hits is lost in the crowd.

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