There are a few people of whom we know very little. Don Bradman, Nikola Tesla, Greta Garbo. If there is one Indian we could add to the list, it is Baba Sehgal.
Baba Sehgal is a different specimen altogether.
His rap, his songs, his music videos, his standard of jokes – these require historical documentation and an analysis of causes and effects.
Baba was born Harjeet Singh Sehgal in Lucknow. While his songs today seem like they were crafted for the intellectually challenged, he is actually a dropout of BITS, Pilani. While he claims it was due to excessive ragging, we suspect some of his rapping might have led to the incident.
Baba broke into the Indipop scene, in 1990. In fact, he was the first Indian artist to have his song play on MTV Asia. His albums, bizarrely titled Dilruba and Main Bhi Madonna won him some eyeballs, even if it was people rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
This was also the time when he was accused of lifting a song by the English band Queen (Ice Ice Baby), which Baba made into Thanda Thanda Pani. When he was quizzed by the media, his response was legendary. He said, ‘Freddie Mercury is originally from India. I am from India. So, well’.
Baba Sehgal went on to become a household name (in the households where children were allowed to listen to his songs, that is!). But unfortunately, in the late 90s, Indipop as a genre sank. Baba Sehgal vanished…
…only to appear in South Indian movies. He has sung a number of hits in Telugu and Tamil cinema, consistently ranking as the singer of some of the biggest hits every year.
Since then, Baba Sehgal has been doing random stuff. He sometimes hosts a TV gossip show on Zoom TV. He also appeared on the Bigg Boss show, where he did nothing remarkable – he just moped about and created one brain-shattering rap song a day.
Somehow, Baba Sehgal seemed to have lost the pulse of the people. Rapping became mainstream with the entry of Honey Singh and his bhailog. Baba Sehgal was relegated to the south of India, coming up with songs and appearing at audio launches. His albums, which continue to push the boundaries of what can be considered bizarre, still have weird names. Like Ek Pal With An Animal, Mere Paas Hai Mutual Fund, and Going to the Gym.
Humanity in general, and India in particular, seemed to have lost out on the genius of the man.
But how long can you bury a true genius? Not too long!
Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, Baba Sehgal rose to fame on Twitter.
Baba Sehgal has finally found peace and contentment on Twitter. It is a platform made for him. 140 characters (come on, the guy is a rapper, not a novelist!), the ability to tag anyone in a message, and the lack of any need for coherence and sense has made him spread his wings and set fly on Twitter.
Baba Sehgal on Twitter is a phenomenon that can’t be explained in words. You have to follow him to find out what I mean.
Taking the art of not giving a f*ck to Da Vinci levels, Baba Sehgal consistently comes up with gems that make you pinch yourself, and then run to the nearest wall and bang your head on it like Rakhee in Karan Arjun.
Baba Sehgal says whatever he wants, tags whomever he wants, and tweets whatever comes to his mind. His tweets make you realise that there MUST be a God in heaven. And a fantastic peddler somewhere in Mumbai!!