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Features |  22 Jan 2018 17:21 |  By Tanmaya Vyas

The phenomena of never-ending trend of Punjabi Music in Bollywood

MUMBAI: Over the years, Bollywood has become synonymous with the Punjabi traditions, special thanks to Yash Raj Films. With Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, directorial debut of Aditya Chopra, the trend of songs based on Punjabi culture in films intensified and the same started reflecting in the society. Almost every wedding in the country had those songs, similar costumes and choreographed dance numbers, which was an evidence of the share that Punjabi music had in Bollywood. 

Over two decades down the line, the situation is the same but with twists and turns. Other trends have come and gone, but the trend of Punjabi songs didn't fade into oblivion. This trend also gave the industry many legendary artistes and brought some lost names back in the foray. Daler Mehndi is a name that is equivalent to Punjabi music. While he was already known for his independent music, his song Na Na Na Na Re in Amitabh Bachchan starrer Mrityudaata, was the sole saving grace of the movie. He sang many such hit songs and continued to treat the audience with his soulful melodies.

2004 witnessed the release of Yash Chopra directed Veer Zaara, a love story between a Pakistani girl and Indian boy; it had a track sung by Gurdas Maan. Mika Singh has given hits after hits and has been a favourite with the masses. Almost every film in late 90s and early 2000s had a Punjabi song.

Clinton Cerejo, music composer and singer shared, "This trend has been there for a long time and there is nothing wrong with it, as I think everyone wants a hit. The reason for such a huge share of these songs is because of the massive reach of Bollywood in the North. I, however, feel that the essence of Punjab is in the folk form, which was ignored and therefore I tried bringing it forth by making music for a movie called Jugni. We need to give that form lot of attention too."

Jugni as a film about music, had songs by legendary singers like A R Rahman, Vishal Bhardwaj, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The song list of the movie also had a Bulleh Shah written song, exploring the unheard genre of Punjabi music.

With an evolution of music over the years, even the lyrics have shown a shift with Punjabi words incorporated and integrated into the songs. Bollywood songs are replete with words like Soniye, Kudiye, Mahi Ve, Pattaka Guddi, Bulleya, Channa Mereya and even the recent hit like Dil Diyan Gallan, prove the sheer effect the Punjabi culture has over Bollywood.

2017 saw a trend of 90's hits redone and repackaged to suit the current taste, however, audience didn't really lap it. Even then, be it the chart-bursting Honey Singh and Badshah numbers or the soothing Ikk Kudi by Diljit Dosanjh, songs with Punjabi roots ruled the roost.

T-Series president marketing media & publishing Vinod Bhanushali shared, "The reason why Punjabi music is so popular in Bollywood is that generally, the characters in Bollywood are Punjabi. Therefore, the music becomes relevant. If you watch Tumhari Sulu, the song Ban Ja Rani sung by Guru Randhawa looks a part of the narrative. If the script doesn't demand it, the songs are not Punjabi, for example, the song Lungi Dance sung by Honey Singh was an OST which appeared during the end credits of Chennai Express, but the movie doesn't have quintessential Punjabi songs, because the script isn't like that. Even Lungi Dance song itself isn't outright Punjabi. Since Bhushan Kumar has a good ear for music, we at T-Series always are particular about these things."

Times Music chief operating officer Mandar Thakur explained, "Historically Bollywood music is popular music or commonly known as pop music, which over the years has depicted sound relevant to those particular times. Till the 1960s the emphasis was on the voice then it graduated to heavy orchestration with newer instruments. Now we have heavy rhythms and certain level of melody. The sound of Punjabi music is appealing and usage of Hindi words widens the audience too. Also, Punjabi culture is extremely vibrant culture, which carries the sound even in countries like UK or far overseas. Therefore, when Times Music acquired the catalogue of Speed Records, it had the vision that Punjabi music has a huge following and scope to grow."  Speed Records, the largest Punjabi label in the world has a repertoire of artistes comprising legends as well as the young blood of Punjabi music. The label has a following of staggering 7.5 million on YouTube with over 4,500 videos, which proves the reach and popularity of Punjabi music across.

The larger than life vibe, vivaciousness and overall fun element in Punjabi music has made it an all-time favourite with music composers, film directors and also audiences. Way to go for more foot tapping Punjabi beats.