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Punjab's bhangra-rapper comes to Bollywood

Punjab’s successful pop-bhangra rapper, music producer and now celluloid hero ‘Yo Yo’ Honey Singh is heading for Bollywood. Singh, whose latest album International Village is the most successful Punjabi album of all time, is currently ruling the box office with his acting debut, Mirza: The Untold Story. Now, Singh is all set to head for Bollywood. His track Mujhe Neat Pilade Sajna, his first in Hindi, has been lapped up by producer Sunil Bohra for the Naseeruddin Shah-Vivaan Shah gangster flick Mastaan.

Says Singh, “I’m happy where I am. When my friend Sunil Bohra heard and liked my first Hindi song and said he wanted to use it in his Hindi film, I said, take it, it’s all yours.” “I started my career as a music producer in 2005. In 2006, my single went on to be No 1 in the BBC world charts. I used to sing in English. On the audiences’ request, I began to rap and sing in Punjabi. I was in the UK for 9 years. But now for the last three years I’ve been creating my music in Punjabi,” says the 25 year-old singer.

And now Singh wants to try working with Hindi cinema. Says the rapper, “Bollywood will be a bonus. But I will head to Bollywood only when the offers come with respect for my art. I am not here to sell myself. Whether it’s Hindi or Punjabi I will sing only in the language of our country. Why is it that abroad, songs in Spanish and French are sung with such great pride? Why are we so apologetic about singing to the West in Indian languages?”

Singh slams the Bollywood culture of bringing Western artistes like Akon to sing for Hindi films. “Too much value is attached to American and British music in our country. I want to change that. I started rapping in Punjabi to create a sense of pride in our youth for our own culture. In every part of the world, people take pride in their cultures. Why are Hindi and Punjabi songs not reaching out?Why do we invite Western musicians to sing in Hindi films? Every time musicians from Pakistan sing in Bollywood there’s an uproar, when Pakistani and Indian artistes are like-minded brothers. Then why should we invite some American singer to do che-che-pe-pe in our country?” 

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