I was born and brought up in Indore. My parents were classical musicians, so there was always music in the house. My father was the regional manager of a public sector bank and my mother worked at the university. Post completing my graduation, I took up a job to sell Eureka Forbes vacuum cleaners. I had seen the classical music scene and found it too decadent, whereas theatre was far more liberal, so I was interested in theatre.
I was a complete film buff and would bunk school to go and watch films and had read about Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri being from NSD. I applied and got through in the second attempt at the age of 24 and did a course there in design and direction. I also started writing there and wanted to become a filmmaker.
Due to their circumstances, my parents could not make a career out of music, so they were supportive of me joining NSD, but they felt relieved only once I started getting a scholarship, as they felt if nothing else at least I would get a job. For me going to NSD opened up a whole world of possibilities. Post NSD, I did two years of theatre where Manju Singh of Doordarshan spotted me and asked me to come to Mumbai to write a serial for her. I came to Mumbai when I was 29 and started assisting Sudhir Mishra. I assisted him on three films ‘Calcutta Mail’, ‘Chameli’ and ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’.
I had written this song Baanwara Mann for something else. But Sudhir heard it through Kay Kay Menon and that is how my journey as a lyricist began. Then Shantanu Moitra heard my voice and recorded the song on my voice, so I also started singing. Pradeep Sarkar heard that song once it was ready and he immediately took me to Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who took me for ‘Parineeta’. After that, I got many films including ‘Eklavya’, ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ and worked with several directors including Raju Hirani.