Evolving day and day, the Gujarati film industry is now showcasing a variety of subjects and music - for which it is attracting talent from elsewhere too. "Sonu Tane Mara Par Bharoso Nai Ke?", which is going to be released soon, sees 'Bhangra King' Daler Mehndi lend his voice to a Gujarati film for the first ever time.
In an exclusive chat with IANS, Daler opened up on his experience of singing a Gujarati song and revealed his long association with the state.
Here are some excerpts.
Q: How was the experience of singing Gujarati songs?
A: My albums started coming around 1995. Ramjubhai from Kutch has played Dhol in my every song whether it is "Bolo Ta Ra Ra Ra" or "Rab Rab Kar Di" or any of my shows in the world. My relationship with Gujarat is older than 27 years. There are many Gujarati artists in my band too. I wanted to sing a Gujarati song since many years. But it will be more fun if someone themselves offer a good song. I was very happy when Sachin Jigar and the producers of the "Sonu Tane Mara Par Bharoso Nai Ke?" contacted me. I loved listening to the song and thought it would be a party anthem in upcoming days.
A: In my Gujarat show or in a show where there is a Gujarati audience, I often sing "Odhni Odhu Ne Udi Udi Jay" and "Tame Ketla Bhai Kunwara Raj...Achko Machko Kareli". I have been singing such songs.
Q: In how many languages have you sung before?
A: I have previously sung the title song for "Bahubali" in Tamil and Telugu. Those languages were very difficult for me, in comparison, I found Gujarati very easy to learn. It was a bit difficult to understand some of the pronunciation and expressions, but it was a lot of fun recording the song.
Q: A few years ago, "Sonu Tujha Majhyavar Bharosa Nay Kay", a Marathi song, became popular, have you heard it?
A: No, I haven't heard that song and I have no idea. It is a good thing that this song and film has been made from a popular song. Let's hope that this song will spread in the whole Gujarati audience in the same way since this is a big budget song.
Q: Do you think that the trend of Punjabi infused Hindi songs has increased in the last few years?
A: I'm glad that my songs started that trend, and that trend revolves around me even today. My music style and the tunes have been copied by artists from many states including UP and Bihar. Since 27 years there won't be any party or Barat in which my songs would not have been played. I like that the originality and creativity with which I worked is still being used by other artists.
A: How do you prepare your body to sing with so much energy and powerful voice?
A: I am very careful about my diet. I walk regularly and work out in the gym three days a week. Other than those I do Riyaaz a lot. I consider myself lucky that my Guru Rahat Ali Khan from Gorakhpur trained me on one condition that I should never get drunk. I haven't touched alcohol yet. I don't have any bad habits.
A: What kind of songs do you personally like to sing or listen to?
A: I love singing ghazals and thumris with tanpura for my own pleasure when I do Riyaaz. I like listening to ghazals of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb, Rahat Ali Khan Saheb, Mehndi Hasan, Nazakat Ali Saheb. I love to sing songs of Kishore Kumar, Rafi Saab and Manna Dey from Bollywood. In some of my shows I also sing spiritual hymns and songs.