King of Pop is after titles
The king of pop music Daler Mehndi who is now into singing title songs, talks to Sangeeta Yadav about his style and why he would like to work with Shakira
He shot to fame in the 90s and made bhangra popular worldwide through hit numbers Bolo Ta Ra Ra, Dardi Rab Rab Kardi, Ho Jayegi Balle Balle and Tunak Tunak Tun Tara Raa. Daler Mehndi played a big role in setting up a parallel non-film music industry in India back in the 90s. After singing the title songs for Dangal and Bahubali 2: The Conclusion which became superhits worldwide, Mehndi, who was called the king of pop, today has a new title — the king of title songs — in the industry.
“I have sung the title songs for Rang De Basanti, Mirzya, Dangal, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and many more are yet to come. It has become a trend with me now and people have given me a new name — Title Singh. I am thoroughly enjoying this phase in my life,” Mehndi says.
Walking down the memory lane, Mehndi recalls how he bagged the title track of Bahubali 2: The Conclusion which will be premiering on television today (October 8, 2017) at 1 pm on Sony Max. “I got a call from MM Keeravani, a popular music director from the South and he asked me to come to Hyderabad to do a song. When I reached, he told me it was for the title song for Bahubali 2. I was elated. But the catch was that they wanted it in Telugu. Though my lines were very few, it took us three hours to get an okay from the team. The song is at a very high pitch. I don’t think anybody else could have sung it so clearly in such a short span. I was very happy with the fact that I have achieved a milestone in my life,” Mehndi says.
That was not all. He was again called to do a dub for the Hindi version. “The song Bhali Bhali Bhali Ra Bhali Saahore Bahubali has got a Punjabi touch and reminded me of my song Hogayi Teri Balle Balle. I feel proud to see my song in the opening of the movie. The song makes the movie look magnanimous. Since it is a high pitched song, I had to think a lot before singing. I took a break in between recording and ate a lot of food to get power to sing this high pitch. I had their special Hyderabadi biryani and butter maska. I eat very less sweet but that day I ate four scoops of ice cream in my excitement,” Mehndi says.
Having sung a couple of Telugu songs that became superhits, Mehndi feels that the acceptance of Punjabi singers in South movies is gaining momentum. “When my album Bolo Tara Rara became a hit, the music company said that if two lakh cassettes get sold within one year in Punjab, it will be called a super duper hit album. To our surprise, within two months over 2-lakh copies were sold in South only, a figure we were looking at for the entire year. The acceptance of singers in the South is much more now. Their movies and film industry has become number one in India. South movies became very popular in Japan 15 years back and have had a long run there but now with Bahubali, it has broken all the records worldwide,” Mehndi tells you.
Talking about the kind of songs he likes to listen to, Mehndi says: “Songs should be rooted in Indian ethos. There has to be a purpose of singing that song and it should send out a good message to our generation and inspire them to take up good work in the society. Youth should get motivated instead of inspiring them to do wrong things or habits. Nowadays songs on addiction or coming late night are becoming hit. But I don’t like it at all. In the name of entertainment, a lot of wrong things are getting made. One thing which is very common with me is that I like to sing for movies that are not vulgar or give out a wrong message to the youth.”
Talking about the trend of rap music, Mehndi says: “It is very easy to do a Hindi rap song. Songs by Shankar Mahadevan, Sukhvinder Singh and others are called the real songs which mean something. Every single person is doing the same thing. It is like momos which is available at every nook and corner of the country. Listening to music should be like you are eating authentic cuisines from that particular region like Rajasthani or South Indian.
Best known for his energetic dance songs, his distinctive voice, turban and long flowing robes, Mehndi’s most popular song Tunak Tunak caught the attention of the people who came up with memes, parodies, dance and stand-up acts. Mehndi even shot a small video with Canadian DJ and record producer Deadmau that became viral globally.
When asked which international artist he would like to collaborate with, Mehndi says: “Shakira! I feel we both can set the stage on fire with our medley. We both have our own style and USP.”
The remix of his popular song Oye Hoye Ki Kudiya Sher Diya for the movie Poster Boys has caught the attention of the people. “It is good to have remix in today’s time because today’s generation will like to get connected to the old music,” Mehndi opines.
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