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Reminiscent notes

chandigarh Updated: Jan 28, 2014 13:07 IST
Nanki Singh
Nanki Singh
Hindustan Times
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"I hate this new found commercial exploitation of Punjabi music and its purity. I don't follow trends, only my heart," says noted Punjabi singer Dolly Guleria."

Having just finished writing a book -- Wagde Paaniya Da Sangeet -- on her mother Surinder Kaur, who was popularly known as the 'nightingale of Punjab', Dolly says her mother was very proud of how she was promoting Punjabi music the right way, "I believe in the richness of our lyrics, without any alteration, and that music is something that should always reach the people," says she.

Ever since the demise of Surinder Kaur in 2006, nothing in life could fill the void in Dolly's life. Then, her husband asked her to pen all her memories down. Dolly says, "I am not really a writer, so the only style I followed was writing exactly how I spoke at home and the words just flowed; all my memories were so fresh."

She wanted to tell the world that her mother was more than just a singer -- she was a loving wife and a family person -- and that she was loved for her deeply caring nature, as much she was for her voice.

"My father was a cultural-minded person who was associated with people such as Amrita Pritam; they used to come to our house in the evenings. Shiv Kumar Batalvi also asked my father if mom would sing some of his songs, as he believed only she could do justice to them," recalls Dolly, with pride in her eyes.


Having never been compelled to undertake any particular profession by her family, Dolly was training to be a doctor, despite her rich musical background, besides getting trained in classical dancing. It was her husband and father who encouraged her to sing.

She was honored by the Pakistani government during her goodwill visit in 1997 and was welcomed by legends such as Ghulam Ali, Shaukat Ali and Arif Lohar. "It brought tears to my eyes when I performed; people gave me a standing ovation. The feeling of singing where my mother started her career was unbelievable; still get goosebumps every time I recall that night," she says.

Having performed with her mother on stage, Dolly believes that when her mother started singing, no one could reach her level. And while the difference in music between then and now irks her, she says she will never follow the trend of running to Bollywood: "My mother gave up singing for the industry, as she believed that people there did not understand her language; she was unwilling to give up lyrical clarity for commercial gain. Now you see youngsters doing the exact opposite."