Singer Daler Mehndi is proud of taking Indian music to new heights, but there’s still one unfulfilled desire. “I really wanted to work with Michael Jacksonji. Bada maza aata agar aisa hota kyunki woh bhi ek current tha aur humara bhi music aur dance alag tha... dono milte to bahut dhamaka karte (It would have been amazing fun if I could work with him, because he was like electric current, and my music and dance were also unusual... we would’ve had a blast working together)!”
The singer, who gave an identity to Punjabi music within and beyond Bollywood, doesn’t regret having rejected songs with cuss words. In fact, he says that his decision has helped him become number one in the industry at present. “Gaane mujhe bahut milte they, lekin mai sochta tha koi aisa gaana ho jismein kuch motivation ho, desh ke liye baatein ho… Rakeshji ne Mirzya diya gaane ke liye, aur sath Dangal aa gayi. Toh khushi hoti hai ki maine sirf do gaane gaake Bollywood ko lead pe bandh diya… Now these songs are leading and they are saaf suthre… Gande gaane to koi bhi gaa sakta hai. Daaru pe har koi gaa sakta hai aur bad words use karke gaane bahut log gaate hain. Hit hone ke liye bahut kuch kar lete hain, lekin mujhe saaf-suthre gaane gaane the, which you can listen with your family. So I’m happy that people liked my work and without saying anything to people, I am back to the number one slot; and [I have] given the industry a new direction by singing pure Indian music, without copying Western music,” says Daler.
Daler Mehndi sang the title track of Dangal.
Many were surprised that Daler hadn’t been singing much for a while. However, he says that he was waiting for a good song. “Log kehte they Tunak Tunak gaane ke baad abhi naya kya hai? Par mai sunta rehta tha aur right time ka intezar karta rehta tha, ki achcha koi gaana aye (People used to say, after Tunak Tunak what new song has Daler sung? But I used to just listen without responding and I waited for the time when a good song would come my way),” says Daler, who sang the title track of the 2016 films Dangal and Mirzya.
I have given the industry a new direction, by singing pure Indian music, without copying Western music
He recently performed in Delhi after a long time and mesmerised the audience with his Sufi songs at the music festival Jahan-e-Khusrau. He says that his aim was to connect the audience with God. “Aisa gana jo sirf ek Allah, ek Ram, jo ek supreme power hai, jiske naam alag alag hain, aise gaana hai, taaki logon ka aapas mein bhaichara ho, pyaar bade. I want to sing for the sake of humanity (A song that’s for one God who has different names, I wanted to sing a song for that supreme power, so that I could spread feelings of brotherhood and love among people),” says Daler.
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