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Screen call after devotion tune

Darjeeling, Nov. 21: Having established himself as the sultan of devotional songs, Ajnish Viswa Rai Prasad is ready for his Bollywood debut.

The 32-year-old, who has an astounding 120 devotional albums to his credit, most of which have been bestsellers in India and abroad, will be one of the playback singers in Anjan Dutta's next film. The lyrics of the song, Mousam Bhigaa Sa, have also been penned by Ajnish.

Already a well-known name in the devotional song sector, Ajnish has also teamed up with Mumbai-based Unicorn Music to come up with 70 albums as part of the Living Gods series.

The singer has dabbled with jingles as well, and has also worked with Louis Banks.

'But my foray into commercial films will open new vistas for me,' Ajnish said.

'Anjan Dutta selected the song after hearing Rusty Nails (a band from the hills) performing it. The sequence of the song is slated to be shot in January and Susmita Sen will probably star in the film,' he added.

This, however, is not the first time that Bollywood has approached the music prodigy from the hill town.

'Directors Luv-Kush had asked me to sing in one of their films in the 90s, but I had to back out at the last minute due to unavoidable circumstances,' Ajnish said.

A devoted Sai Baba follower, Ajnish's songs have created a sensation in the devotional sector with his album, O Sai Ma, selling more than 70,000 CDs. 'I did not even care to know the sales notched up by the cassettes,' he said.

His love for devotional songs can be traced back to his school days at Shri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, in Puttarpathi, where Sai Baba resides.

'I started singing since 1991 and after completing my post-graduate studies in microbiology and tissue culture, I moved to Mumbai. I was trained by Ustad Dayal Thakur of the Patiala gharana,' said Ajnish.

The singer had also tied up with Turkish jazz musician Taglayan Yildiz to come up with the first-of-its-kind English spiritual music, Golden Days.

Ajnish's secular music has a strong social message and the singer has also come up with folk fusion titled Indrajal. The singer is scheduled to tour the US, Canada and the UK in July.

Apart from working on new albums, Ajnish is currently producing a programme Sai Darshan, which is aired every Saturday and Sunday by a Nepal-based satellite channel.

'My dream is to open a good audio production house in Darjeeling and start a music school here. Youths here are highly talented, but not dedicated enough,' he added.

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