Dolly Guleria: The lady behind 'Ambarsare de papad'

  • Arshpreet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2015 12:33 IST
Punjabi singer Dolly Guleria is proud to carry forward her mother Surinder Kaur's legacy (Sikander Singh Chopra/HT)

Punjabi singer Dolly Guleria laughed her stunning smile as she talked about her popular song, ‘Ambarsare de papad’ sung religiously in every Punjabi household during Punjabi festivals and weddings across the globe.

Sipping chilled water on a sweltering day in Ludhiana, Dolly said, “I would hear my mother Surinder Kaur and aunt Prakash Kaur sing this song when I was a child. The song rolled on my tongue so easily, I couldn’t resist asking my mother whether this song had ever been recorded. She told me that despite the fact that this was such a beautiful and popular folk song, it had never been recorded as such. She said, ‘Why don’t you record it Dolly?’ And as soon as I recorded the song, it became a hit overnight.”

Despite her mother encouraging her music, Dolly says her mother didn’t want her to pursue a career in music. Dolly wanted to be a doctor and after she completed completed her Bachelor’s degree in medical sciences, she married an army man.

“I devoted 10 years of my life to my family. My priorities had changed by then and my family mattered the most but with my husband’s support, I began to learn music once again. I practiced and learnt. Mamma had always asked me to do something easier. She said music was industrious and involved a lot of struggle. It was for tough people and since I was of a mild temper, she thought I was too soft to face the struggles in the music industry.”

Dolly further added, “But I felt upset every time someone messed up Mamma’s songs. So people told me if I felt so bad about it I should record them on my own and show the world how these songs are to be sung.”

Now, Dolly is proud that she has fulfilled her dream of being a singer despite all the hurdles and is, in a way, carrying forward a legacy her mother left her. Her mother Surinder Kaur is also popularly known as the ‘Nightingale of Punjab’.

“Sometime back, the music industry had gone into a rift and the lyrics seemed to have lost their meaning. Melody lost its way into nothingness but I am glad that in recent days, the melody seems to be back on track,” said Dolly, when asked about the changing music trends in Punjab. Emphasising her love for other things, she said, “I love to cook and paint. I love gardening and fashion designing and I am very fond of interior decoration and of course I can listen to classical music for hours at a stretch.”

Talking about youth and the changing tastes of the audience, she said, “I would only ask the audience to listen to good music, no matter what genre it is.”

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