After enthralling audiences with hits such as Bolo Ta Ra Ra, Jalwa and Sadde Nal, composer and singer Daler Mehndi is coming up with a new album. The 47-year-old talks about his music and more. Excerpts from the interview:
Videos of people singing and dancing on your song, Tunak Tunak Tun, has become a rage on YouTube. Which is your favourite version and why? I loved the version by Ludacris. Honestly speaking, I had never heard of his name before this, as I don’t listen to rap. But I remember when a kid fainted while watching the video and later told me, ‘He is our God and he is rapping to your song'. That made me really happy.
The same song saw you in the video without any back-up dancers. What made you do that ? There were people who thought that Daler Mehndi was getting bigger than Bollywood. So, they spread the rumour that my songs worked because I have girls dancing in the background. That was when I took it as a challenge and decided to feature not just one version of myself, but five.
What made you launch an album after almost a decade? Back then, every music label wanted me to do everything, like make videos myself, but they were the ones who were making money from my promotions. So, I decided not to make albums that time. But now, since I can afford to make my own music videos, here I am with another album!
You were the first to launch actor-singer Priyanka Chopra in your song, Sajan Mere Satrangiya. Now you are working with her cousin Mannara Chopra. Tell us about that? When I first saw Priyanka, I was like, ‘Yeh kisko lekar aa gaye ho’. But a friend of mine told me to trust her. It is really nice to see her become so successful now. I am also excited to work with Mannara on this new project.
What do you feel about live shows, specially in the internet era? Now, live shows are the only way for a musician to know how famous he really is. You can buy hits or likes on YouTube and become famous there, but if you fail to get a reaction from a live crowd, you have a long way to go.