Abhijit Dev Kumar

It took hardly 30 minutes for A. Clement to compose the runaway hit

HYDERABAD: It’s time for the ‘teen-maar’ master piece to take over the city.

As the city prepares for celebration of the annual ‘Bonalu’ festival, ‘Mayadari Maisamma’ the item song of Hyderabad will reverberate through every nook and corner of the twin cities.

The ‘masti’ number has almost become an icon of Bonalu festival and it’s not uncommon to hear the song being played in pubs too.

As the song blares out and people start tapping their feet, there is this man who would smile and feel proud. Meet A. Clement, composer, writer and singer of the runaway hit.

Clement, who lives in a small house near Alugadda Bavi locality in Secunderabad, points out that though the song is played at the temples every year, it is not a devotional one.

The ‘teen maar’ master piece describes a situation where a poor couple cannot make it to the festivities of Bonalu.

But the man stumbles upon a piece of gold, sells it and takes his beloved to the festival.

Stunning success

The stunning success of the song, that catapulted folk music to a higher chord, was written in 1990 in a shed beside Vipanchi Studio at Adarshnagar.

“It took hardly 30 minutes to write and compose ‘Mayadari’. I never knew it would become such a huge hit,” says Clement.

It’s not just ‘Mayadari Maisamma’ that is a hit during Bonalu time. Whenever Clement sings his number at any show, crowds gather in huge numbers.

“I sing Maisamma at least ten times before we end a performance. Sometimes, I do change the lyrics during encores. Crowds just lap it up,” he says with a smile.

New album

Clement brings out a new album of songs every Bonalu and for that matter, ‘Maisamma’ itself had about a dozen variants in Hindi, English too. “I start writing songs a fortnight before Bonalu begins. But every new track for Bonalu season surely has a song on Maisamma in it, as the name has bought me fame.”

Ask him what’s different this year and he replies, “I’ve written a song describing the goddess with different types of flowers. Each flower signifies a quality of the goddess.”

Sore point

But one thing that annoys the musician is due credit that is not given to artistes in the genre of folk songs.

“Folk singers are not given any recognition. Our work is copied and exploited in countless movies. It is time that folk singers like us get what we deserve,” he asserts.