Punjab is a land of plenty, of large
hearted people and of life. Green fields, hard working men and women
and good food are things that come to mind when thinking of Punjab
but something that is even more characteristic are the beats of the
Bhangra, because of its liveliness, has gained
popularity all over the country. Its catchy beats and up tempo music
can be heard everywhere today. Its popularity can be
attributed to many who helped bring it out of Punjab and spread it
all over the country. But there is one man in particular whose name
has now become synonymous with Bhangra. He is a husband, a father
and a world-renowned entertainer. He popularized Bhangra like no one
else before and spread it not only all over the country but all over
the world. He has won many national and international awards for his
excellent work. The man is Daler Mehndi.
Daler Mehndis love for music was cultivated by
his parents who lived in the beauty of Illahi Bani (divine
music). He trained under Ustad Rahat Ali Khan of Gorakhpur and
imbibed the Patiala Gharana style of Hidustani Classical music. In
1991 he formed his own group and by 1995 had a hit album, Bolo Ta
Ra Ra which broke all records. The subsequent albums were
greater superhits. His popularity doubled when he sang for Amitabh
Bacchans comeback movie Mrityudata. His peppy Sadde
Naal number was danced to by people of all ages. Dalers
patriotic song Wajah Muskurane ki commemorate 50 years of
Indian Independence. He is currently working on songs for the
forthcoming movie Khauf.
There were other before him and many after him who
tried to popularize Bhangra. But none has matched the appeal and
excellence of Dalers work. He has toured all over the world
Asia, Africa, America, Australia and Europe. Everywhere he was met
with the same enthusiasm as in India. His songs, though Punjabi in
language and rhythm, manage to surpass cultural barriers and provide
quality entertainment to people different languages.
This is evident from the fact that Dalers
album Bolo Ta Ra Ra sold 100,000 copies in southern India
where Punjabi is almost a foreign language ! This performance has not
been repeated by any other Punjabi artist again. Also at the Tam Tam
festival in France, Daler received rave reviews. Thus making him the
indisputable king of Bhangra Pop !
The reasons behind Daler Mehndis popularity
and sustained success are many. His energetic performance and stage
charisma pull large crowds at shows. His attire, specially his
bejeweled turban, makes him stand out in a crowd of Punjabi
performers. He writes and composes most of his music. His dance
style, particularly his hand movements are greatly enjoyed and
mimicked by his fans. Daler is a very versatile performer. Though he
mainly sings Punjabi songs, he is equally comfortable singing in
Hindi. All these factors enhance his originality which sets him a
class apart. And of course Bhangra itself manages to attract a lot
of sustained interest.
Daler Mehndis popularity can be gauged by the
fact that he won Channel Vs Best Male Pop Singer Award for two
consecutive years (1996 and 1997). He also won the Pride of
Performance Award by the British Royal Arts Academy in 1998, making
him the only Asian to receive this prestigious award in this century.
In 1997, two of his songs won him two different awards. One for
Channel V and the other for the Screen Videocon Award. This goes to
show that the king can churn out more than one hit at the same time.
Originally Bhangra was danced on Baisakhi, which is
the harvest celebration festival, but today no reason is needed to
enjoy this exciting dance. A night at the disco is incomplete
without a dance of Dalers music. In fact, it is rare to come
back home without it.
This king of Bhangra pop is not just an entertainer
but also a philanthropist. Ninety per cent of his shows are for
Charitable causes such as the Chief Ministers Relief Fund
Jammu, for raising funs for schools for Police Welfare Funds, etc. On
the outskirts of Delhi there is a facility where people from all
sections of society can go and enjoy a full meal for free any time of
the day or night. This is the Daler Mehndi Food for Life Society.
It is financed by Daler himself. The Daler Singh Mehndi Green Drive
is another example of his magnanimity.
It is an effort at promoting clean, healthy living
through a cleaner, healthier and safer environment. Some of the
activities of the Green Drive will be providing garbage bins at
strategic locations in Delhi and ensuring their servicing, it will
convert dry leaves to compost and provide eco-friendly trees to
participating schools and give of these schools. Daler also did
charity shows in U.K. in aid of Cancer that generated Five Lac Pounds
DM Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., the company formed by Daler Mehndi,
was started primarily for managing Dalers expanding career and
then to provide employment, spread broad-based awareness in terms of
music, environment and social issues. Through DM Entertainment Daler
wants to provides a platform to new artists and successfully
reintroduce forgotten talent.
He wants to provide quality shows and set trends in bringing forth
all styles of music. Daler is the pioneer in this direction and with
his help there will be others who will walk in his path and continue
his work. Dalers honest efforts, hard work and sincere concern
are paving his way to continued success.