We all have relatives who forward memes and quotes of dubious origin on WhatsApp that we promptly forward or delete, depending on how much free time we have on our hands. When music composer Ajay Kshirsagar's brother forwarded a short clip to him on WhatsApp, he decided to write a song on it as a lark. The rest, as they say, is a runaway viral with an annoyingly catchy beat that stays with you through the day.
Since it was uploaded on YouTube, the viral 'Sonu Tujha Majhyavar Bharosa Nay Kay', styled on Marathi folk, has over six million views, inspired countless spin-offs, including one by India's first band run by transgender people, and is the subject of a very angry defamation charge by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation against a popular Mumbai radio jockey.
The subject of the song is a woman's plaintive question to her lover: Sonu, don't you trust me?
Who's this Sonu, one might ask. In interviews to Marathi TV channels, Kshirsagar says it's what his wife calls him lovingly. In fact his wife Bhagyashali has also sung the song along with him.
The original video on YouTube which also credits Chadan Kamble for the music, has poor production quality, a faster pace and a clip-art kitschy feel to it that is given more sophistication in its subsequent version by RJ Malishka Mendonsa in a parody slamming BMC for Mumbai's potholes.
In an interview to TV9, Kshirsagar says the idea came to him after his brother Avinash sent him a clip on Whatsapp — a 'picnic song' of sorts that he decided to expand. Kshirsagar, whose guru only allowed him to sing pop after he was convinced that his voice was ready, says he immediately knew he had a song on his hands that would catch on.
"I am overwhelmed by the response of youngsters to the song. Young people have enjoyed the song and made it big."
Such has been the popularity of the song — that takes childish potshots at Sonu's hapless parents — that now there are several versions in Gujarati, Marwadi, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Pune, Sindhi, among many other amateurish attempts to recreate its virality.
Kshirsagar has been writing songs since he was 15 and this isn't the only time something he has written that has gone viral. His Mi Tujha Parsha, Tu Majhi Archihas over three million hits on YouTube. He tells Mumbai Live, he keeps getting requests to sing the Sonu song — a dubsmash hit in colleges — whenever he meets fans.
"I am overwhelmed by the response of youngsters to the song. Young people have enjoyed the song and made it big," he says.