He struck an instant chord among radio listeners and viewers of Doordarshan in the 1980s with his peppy Dil Da Mamla Hai. Ever since, Gurdas Maan, the most notable figure in the Punjabi music industry, has charmed his way into the hearts of music lovers of all age groups and has been credited with raising Punjabi folk music from the regional level to an international platform.
While his list of accolades is long, notably his album, Apna Punjab, won the best album award at the 1998 Asian Pop and Media Awards held in Birmingham and in 2007, he won the National Award for best male playback singer for couplets of Heer in the film, Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waaris.
The untiring singer, songwriter and actor, who is revered by aspiring Punjabi singers, has also contributed to the revival of Punjabi cinema by doing films such as Shaheed-e-Mohabbat, Shaheed Udham Singh and Des Hoya Pardes among others.
HT City caught up with the folk and bhangra hero on Tuesday at DT Mall in IT Park, Chandigarh, where he released singer Rupinder Handa's third music album, Loving Waves.
On vulgarity in Punjabi music
"Many young singers have grown up on western music, hence the influence of rap. And, these kids are not to be blamed entirely as they only reflect and give back what they have absorbed from western culture. If they haven't read Heer Ranjha or heard about Waris Shah, how can we expect them to sing it to us?"
On being loved
"I feel energetic, all this love makes life worth living; rather this respect makes me want to relive. But this immense love also makes me realise that there is still a lot to be done."
On future projects
"After Jogiya (2011), I have been working on my solo music album, which is tentatively titled Roti. Manjeet [wife] is working on the film, Punjabi Zubaney, which will release next year."
On being a role model
"It feels nice and humbling when fans make me realise my duty towards Punjabi culture. I will never shirk my responsibility and will continue to guide youngsters in the right direction with a promise to retain quality and bring back the lyrical era in music."
On singers turning to acting and politics
"To each his own. Let everybody do what he wants to, who are we to comment."