Rokesh, a gaana songwriter, has penned the popular number, Danga Maari for Anegan. The film’s audio was launched on Sunday and the song has become a rage on social media already. Dhanush, Marana Gana Viji and Naveen Madhav have rendered the dappanguthu, which has been composed by Harris Jayaraj.
The 21-year-old Rokesh, a Vyasarpadi resident, has been writing lyrics for gaana albums for the past two years. “I write gaana songs for my friends. One of the albums that I wrote somehow reached Kiran, the art director of Anegan. He showed my lyrics to KV Anand, who was looking for a new lyricist – also an expert at Madras bashai,” explained Rokesh.
Despite reading lyrics written by many north Madras writers, KV Anand found Rokesh’s lines authentic and fresh. “I was then called to their office. I worked with KV Anand and Harris Jayaraj for about a month to write Danga Maari. Harris Jayaraj was particularly very encouraging,” he said. Rokesh wrote several versions of the song. “Harris Jayaraj gave a lot of inputs. I had an opportunity to improvise quite well.”
When Rokesh was called on to the dais at the audio launch of Anegan, he was star-struck. “In fact, it was the first ever time I was called to speak on stage.” Dhanush understood that Rokesh was nervous, and he went up to Rokesh and hugged him. A curious Dhanush then asked him for the meaning of the phrase ‘Danga Maari’. “Pecha maathi maathi pesaravan,” laughed Rokesh.
Rokesh is now a full-time lyricist. “I quit my press machine-man job six months ago to take up writing. I don’t know if it would do any good to me. But I want to try,” he said. He dropped out of school when he was in class 9. And since then, he has harboured immense love for gaana songs.
Although Rokesh had written lyrics for quite a few independent albums, he reckoned that it was Danga Maari that made his parents believe in him. “Whenever I used to hand-over my salary to my mother, she would hesitate to take it, because she didn’t trust me. She would wonder – I was always at home, but I managed to get some amount of money every month. She didn’t quite understand that I was a lyricist. But now everybody talks about Danga Maari to her. For once, she is proud of me and I am very happy. Danga Maari has done that for me. It is a dream come true.”