Saurav Kishan should have been in China now, doing his final year medicine at Xinjiang. But COVI-19 forced him to extend his stay at home in Kozhikode, giving him plenty of time to devote to his passion, music.
He did not quite imagine though that his rendition of a popular Mohammed Rafi song would turn him into an overnight sensation on the Internet. The video of him singing Teri aankhon ke siva..., the incredibly sweet melody tuned by Madan Mohan for the 1969 Hindi film Chirag, has been watched by more than 1.3 million times, within five days after it was posted on Twitter by a music lover from Hyderabad.
It became viral after it was retweeted by entrepreneur Anand Mahindra. It was then posted, among others, by Shankar Mahadevan, one of India's leading playback singers, Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon and cricketer-turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, who loves to hum Kishore Kumar songs.
Saurav, who sounds like Rafi and whose Hindi diction is pretty good, finds everything a bit surreal. Shankar Mahadevan is a singer I admire a lot, so I was delighted to find that he had good words to say about my singing, he says.
Though I have been performing since the age of three, this kind of recognition is something I could not have anticipated, he adds.
How it all began
It all began when somebody from a WhatsApp group requested him to sing Teri aankhon ke siva... It is one of my favourite Rafi songs, so I was happy to record it from the studio at my home. Then it was posted on Twitter by someone named Judish Raj, he says.
Saurav has grown up listening to Rafi and his songs at shows. I can sing some 800 songs of Rafi without having to look at the lyrics, he says.
Saurav, who still cherishes the memories of being called by Little Rafi by legendary composer Johnson during a reality show for junior singers years ago, is looking forward to reaching out to even more people through a popular Hindi talk show he has been invited to.
I will have to travel to Mumbai for that, he says. There have been some offers to record my songs too, but that would happen only later, because of the COVID-19.