Daler Mehndi is one of the singers who made bhangra look cool. The Punjabi singer with a powerful voice also gave fashion goals to many through his colourful turbans and matching jackets. He finds no reason to change as he believes in the importance of artistes having a personality.
Since the 1990s, the audience has seen Daler wearing diamond-studded turbans in colours like yellow, blue, green, red and orange. He completes the look with a shirt and trouser and a matching robe or jacket.
Has he ever thought of changing his style?
"It is very important for an artiste to have a personality of his own. Dressing style and looks matter a lot when you are entertaining the audience. Nowadays young singers wear shorts and ‘chappals' to perform. I feel they should be taught how to dress up in front of their fans. Along with singing well, it is necessary to look good too," Daler told IANS in an email interview.
But he is open to experimenting with different genres of music.
Earlier this year, he decided to take the spiritual path through "Sikh Route", a set of inspirational videos. Was it because he got tired of being stereotyped?
"Yes, to an extent. I have been doing dance numbers for almost 20 years. One day my wife suggested this idea to me. I accepted it immediately. We have spoken to people with immense knowledge and experience. Spirituality does not necessarily mean that if a person is a Muslim, he or she should follow Islam. Faith and belief go hand in hand," he said.
The voice behind foot-tapping numbers like "Bolo ta ra ra ra", "Dardi rab rab" and "Ho jayegi balle balle", Daler will now feature in the "T-Series Mixtape Punjabi" show. His episode will go live online on December 30.
On the project, he said: "It was great to work on this property. It's a new concept for an artiste to explore iconic songs in a new avatar. I'm grateful to T-Series for giving me this platform and a chance to revive my chartbusters."
Produced by Bhushan Kumar, "...Mixtape Punjabi", dedicated to Punjabi music, will have 14 musical episodes featuring 25 singers.
Why is a compilation of Punjabi songs required right now?
"To revive the songs with a new, live arrangement for today's audience. Also, the party season is here, so what better way than to compile Punjabi dance songs this season?" he said.
For his episode, he has clubbed "Na na na re" and "Kudiya shehar diyan".
He is not the only one giving a twist to his classic numbers. A few months ago, a metal version of his 1998 track "Tunak tunak tun" went viral on the internet. Is he happy that recreations are becoming popular?
"Good music will never die. ‘Tunak tunak...' is a more-than-15- years-old song; still it is played at all parties and weddings. I feel remakes are great if done in the right way as the audience gets to hear them in a contemporary way as well," he said.
Among Bollywood projects, the "Rang de Basanti" hitmaker has the "Happy Bhag Jayegi" sequel and more.