Punjabi singer Jasbir Jassi tasted success early on, as he came out with Channa Ve Teri Chananni in 1993, following it with songs such as Dil Lae Gayee Kudi Gujrat Di, Kudi Kudi, Nishani Pyar Di, Just Jassi, Mukhda Chann Varga and Akh Mastani. After his last album, Jassi Back with a Bang (in 2010), he was seen testing his acting abilities in Punjabi film Khushiyaan last year.
However, 2012 spells stardom at the international level for the popular singer, as he becomes the first Punjabi singer to perform at the famous Cannes Film Festival, whose most celebrated Indian face so far had been actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Talking about singing at the Incredible India theme party, which will be held at the French Riviera city on May 21, Jassi's excitement is palpable over the phone from Toronto in Canada, where he is present for a concert.
"It was my dream to perform for the global audience ever since I started singing. I am going to perform live for three hours. So, I started preparing for my performance some months ago," he says.
Talking about how he landed up with this opportunity, Jassi says, "The National Film Development Corporation was looking for an artiste to perform at Cannes, but wanted someone who had intrinsic knowledge about traditional music. They also sought someone who could toss out Indian music intermixed with western genres and enthrall the global audience. Some officials from the NFDC had earlier seen some of my live concerts, and that's how they unanimously chose my name."
At Cannes, Jassi will be accompanied by six other members of his troupe, apart from artists and musicians from across the world.
The singer has elaborate plans, which he reveals to us, "I am going to intermix Indian music genres such as Sufi, bhangra, pop, Bollywood and Punjabi folk with global music in a way that the world's music aficionados connect with our country's forms of music."
As jailhouse music gets mixed with Indian classical, Jassi says he wants listeners from various parts of the world to know about the stories of Heer-Ranjha and Mirza.
"I want to narrate Gurbani and the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah and Amir Khusrao during my performance," he adds.
The stage will also resonate with sounds of traditional Indian musical instruments such as harmonium, tabla, dhol, tumbi and dufli, shares Jassi.
As far as the look of the act is concerned, Jassi says his and the troupe's costumes will be traditional, made using Punjab's famous phulkari. The clothes have been designed by Harinder Singh, owner of the brand, 1469.
It isn't only Cannes that is taking up Jassi's attention, as he talks about his upcoming projects that include jamming with music composers Ehsaan and Loy for MTV's Coke Studio, singing Amrita Pritam's verses for a film based on the life of painter Imroz, and starring in three Punjabi films which will go on the floors later this year.
"I am also doing the playback for the film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag," signs off Jassi, as he tunes in to Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, one of his inspirations for his performance at Cannes, he tells us.